Ex-school staffer gets 12 years for raping student
By Kim Bo-eun
A former administrative director sacked from Gwangju Inwha School, shut down last year, was sentenced to 12 years in prison Thursday for raping a deaf student.
Gwangju District Court handed down the prison sentence to the convicted man, surnamed Kim, for tying the victim’s hands and feet and raping her.
The sentence was five years longer than the seven years the prosecution had demanded.
Kim’s case stirred public outcry when it became known through a film, “The Crucible” (Dogani) in 2011.
The court also ordered the 63-year-old to wear an electronic anklet, and his personal information be disclosed on the Internet for 10 years after his release.
“Due to the film, the case became widely known, leading to growing calls for stricter punishment for sexual assaults against the disabled, resulting in tougher sentencing guidelines,” said Lee Sang-hyon, the presiding judge.
“The gravity of the crime was immense because the school official responsible for protecting the students, abused his position and took advantage of the fact that the disabled students were unable to resist or report the crime.”
Even though the victim dropped out of school and had difficulty maintaining her daily life due to the tremendous physical and mental pain inflicted by the attack, Kim had denied the charges, the judge said, explaining his reasons for the heavy sentence.
“We hope that the court’s ruling will become a precedent for future trials on sexual violence committed to minors and the disabled,” said Kim Yong-mok, head of the committee on sexual violence at the school, closed last year, located in the southwestern city of Gwangju.
Kim as well as other school officials and teachers were indicted in April 2005, for raping the student who was 18 years old at the time. They had also been charged for assaulting another student aged 17, who had witnessed the incident.
Kim and other teachers at the time had been cleared of the charges by the local court, which had ruled that the victims were not in a situation in which they couldn’t resist.
The prosecution had appealed and claimed that the students’ inability to resist was not only due to their hearing impairment, but also because of their mental disabilities. The high court, however, had acquitted the accused.