Despite the sexual abuse scandal being quiet for quite a while, leading people to ask me about the status of the case, it has been revealed today that Open World Entertainment CEO Jang Seok Woo will be headed off to jail.
Prior to that news, his petition for leniency was denied. In his attempt to earn leniency, he admitted to wrongdoing but but denied the most heinous charges against him.
Earlier in July, Jang had submitted a petition and an apology before appealing for leniency at the courts. Through his counsel, it was said that “society has been viewing this too strictly and harshly. Because of the blame society has placed upon my client, more than the punishment, it is my view that he will be in great pain. The defendant is very contrite and reflecting upon his actions” and “even before the trial, Mr. Jang had received many criticism from the society and required to accept the strict standards of the society. Please understand that Mr. Jang has not much choice in this situation.”
Jang Seokwoo’s final statement mentioned that he apologized to the victims, but that he never once used his power for anything and that no violence was involved.
“I am not lying in order to get rid of the charges. As a producer with age and experience, having done those things with young trainees, I am in deep contrition and am very sorry.”
He also added that “You take a punishment/reflect on wrong-doing when you did something wrong, but I have done sexual intercourse with consent.”
On this the court asked, “Have you ever thought of how the victim will think and react to this situation in their perspective? This action is against the law but why did you try to force your victim(s) to do this action?”
The appeal for leniency was dismissed by judge Yoo Sangjae who stated that if the trainees really did it willingly, there wouldn’t be suspicion. A need for lenience wasn’t apparent, and Jang Seokwoo’s request was therefore rejected. Earlier presented agreements with the trainees and the request for bail were also dismissed.
Seriously though, what a terrible attempt to evade the most serious charges.
Today he was sentenced to six years in prison for his crimes.
On August 10 KST, Judge Yoo Won Jae of the Seoul Central District Court officially sentenced 51-year-old Mr. Jang to 6 years in jail as well as 40 hours in a sexual assault treatment program. His file will also be available to the public for 5 years.
Prosecutors previously requested a sentence of 9 years on July 29 despite a petition filed by Jang for favorable treatment on July 12 and a written letter of apology he sent in on July 18. He applied for bail, submitting withdrawals from three out of four victims who filed complaints, agreements, and parental consent forms, but it was denied. Mr. Jang also received a court warning for making threatening phone calls to ‘female A’, who agreed to go through with the trial.
Jang was taken under custody this past April for sexually assaulting female trainees in his own agency from November 2010 to March 2012.
Alright, I can already hear people screaming injustice over his sentence of just six years after he admitted to sexually abusing trainees (minors). However, and perhaps this is a sad reflection of the state of the justice system, I’m just glad the guy is ruined and will spend time in jail.
The fact of the matter is that the longer this went on, the more I thought he might have gotten away with a figurative slap on the wrist from the courts, especially because it was staying out of the press. Thankfully though, this is no slap on the wrist and he’ll be put away for a while.
Do I think he deserves a longer sentence for what he did? Absolutely. Yet I’m just grateful at this point that the courts recognized something had to be done to him and that a man in power was put away for abusing it. Not a common occurrence in Asia, so it’s a significant result.