Defense chief apologizes over suicide of sexually abused soldier

오석민 / 2021-06-09 10:40:28
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defense chief-sexual abuse case
▲ This photo taken June 2, 2021, shows a temporary altar set up for an Air Force noncommissioned officer at the Armed Forces Capital Hospital in the city of Seongnam, Gyeonggi Province. She took her own life in May after being sexually harassed by her colleague. (Yonhap)

defense chief-sexual abuse case

Defense chief apologizes over suicide of sexually abused soldier

SEOUL, June 9 (Yonhap) -- Defense Minister Suh Wook apologized Wednesday over the suicide death of a sexually harassed female noncommissioned officer, vowing to conduct a thorough probe and overhaul the military's system of handling sex crimes.

It is the first public apology the defense chief has issued after the late Air Force master sergeant took her own life on May 22, around three months after she was groped and suffered other abuse by a colleague of the same rank.

The case sparked public outrage and criticism, as the military, despite her appeal, failed to take proper measures to protect her and instead tried to persuade her to reach a settlement with the perpetrator in a suspected attempt to cover up the case.

"I am very sorry for causing deep concerns to the bereaved family and the people over the recent death of the sexual abuse victim. As defense minister, I feel heavy responsibility," Suh said during a parliamentary session.

"The ministry will thoroughly investigate every detail, including suspicions of appeasement and concealment," Suh said. "We will also review the sex crime handling system to come up with fundamental reform measures."

President Moon Jae-in on Sunday offered a public apology over "the tragic and unjust death" by "such an evil practice in the barracks culture," and ordered the government to establish a task force on overhauling military culture.

(END)

(C) Yonhap News Agency. All Rights Reserved

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