The Korea Herald


Court says permanent ban on pedophile from civil service 'unconstitutional'

By Son Ji-hyoung

Published : June 29, 2023 - 17:34

    • Link copied

(123rf) (123rf)

South Korea's Constitutional Court ruled Thursday that a permanent ban on a person convicted of possessing a child pornography from being employed as a public servant was unconstitutional.

A 6-2 decision Thursday found that the permanent ban from employment violates the anti-overrestriction principle and therefore breaches a person's right to hold public office, the Constitutional Court said in a statement. But it added that a ban from becoming a public official in general service could be imposed "for a considerable amount of time."

Dissenting opinions indicated that the government's employment of those with a history of child sex offense as public servants "will undermine trust in the public service," given that pedophiles are "highly likely to be repeat offenders."

The ruling, however, will be temporarily in effect until May 2024, after which the ban on child sex offenders from the civil service will be nullified unless the National Assembly passes legislation to allow it.

The ruling came more than two years after a man convicted of possessing child pornography on his phone brought the case to the Constitutional Court in December 2020.

Another man -- who was reportedly involved in the high-profile "Nth Room" sexual exploitation case while aspiring to become a public servant -- followed suit in September 2022 as he was convicted of possessing child pornography.

Both were sentenced with fines and compulsory medical treatment.

Until the Constitutional Court ruling, a child sex offense was deemed grounds for disqualification if the offender is convicted.