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South Korea: Reaction Against Child Sexual Offenders

(Dec. 18, 2009) Reports of sex crimes against children in Korea have been on a steady rise recently. News of heinous sex crimes against children has caused the public to raise demands for tightened criminal laws. Especially after the sentence against an offender who raped an eight-year-old girl and left her permanently disabled upset the public in September 2009, various parts of the government moved for harsher punishment of sexual offenders and planned to create new measures for dealing with the crimes. The sentence given to the rapist, a 12-year jail term, seven years of wearing an electronic anklet, and five years of having his personal information open to the public, looked too lenient to many. (Bae Hyun-jung, Brutal Crimes Shake Nation, Korea Herald, Dec. 14, 2009, available at

In November 2009, the Justice Ministry announced a bill that would raise the maximum jail term for child sex offenders from ten years to thirty. The bill also holds that the statute of limitations runs until victims reach the age of 20. Judges are now apparently more broadly acknowledging testimony from child sexual victims. The Supreme Court upheld a High Court decision on December 13, 2009, to admit statements from a 14-year-old girl who was raped when she was 11, even though her statements have some ambiguities and inconsistencies. The Health Ministry will also make more personal information of convicted sex offenders available to the public. (Id.)