The Korea Herald


Seoul permanently ousts sex offender teacher

By 윤민식

Published : Aug. 16, 2015 - 17:57

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Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education said Sunday it would permanently ban a male teacher who harassed his student from teaching at a school again -- the first case of its recently announced “one-strike” policy on sex offenders.

The teacher at a Seoul-based public school, identified by his surname Kim, inappropriately touched the female student during a remedial physical education class in May, according to the SMOE.

He turned himself in a week later, admitting all charges. The case went cold, however, after the victim refused to testify to the police.

While the current law bans anyone of a sexual crime against a minor from resuming, or commencing, a teaching career, one has to have been formally fired for such accusation or sentenced by court for this clause to take effect.

But earlier this month, the SMOE announced it would immediately step in to remove accused sex offenders from teaching posts. It has requested its disciplinary committee to fire Kim. When fired, he will no longer be eligible to teach at any school.

The revamped antisex-crime measures came after a recent large-scale sexual harassment scandal at a high school in Seodaemun district, in which five teachers were accused of sexually harassing over 100 female victims for over a year.

Amid public furor that resonated across the country, Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn held an emergency meeting and vowed to immediately remove any teacher accused of sexual abuse from his or her post. Anyone who knowingly conceals a sex crime at a school can also face expulsion.

Sex crimes in schools are often hushed up as the current manual on sex crimes says that such cases should be investigated by a school committee, composed of teachers at the said school. This has made the committee susceptible to pressure from school authorities wishing to sweep the case under the rug.

The SMOE said it would push to mandate outside authorities to participate in the committee.

By Yoon Min-sik