January 17, Judge Choi Jong Jin ruled in Park Yoochun’s favor during the first trial of the case, sentencing the woman, hereafter referred to as “A,” to two years in prison. Mr. Hwang, the gang member who was involved in the blackmailing, was sentenced to two years and six months in prison, while A’s boyfriend was sentenced to one year and six months.
So that’s not anything new, but the judge’s reasoning for the decision was interesting to me.
Judge Choi Jong Jin said, “The bathroom of the adult entertainment facility in which [A] claimed she was sexually assaulted has a lock on the inside. Considering that fact, it is difficult to understand why [A] did not leave the bathroom or yell for help.” He continued, “Even after [A] left the bathroom, she stayed with Park Yoochun’s friends to hang out, and after Park Yoochun’s party left, she was seen laughing and happily talking to a waiter. These facts confirm suspicions that [A’s] claims of sexual assault were false.”
The accuser also continued to maintain in court that she withdrew the complaint for reasons other than it being false.
Miss Lee made a final statement, desperate and crying longer than her lawyer. She was like reading a false complaint. Moreover, she seemed not to realize what she did wrong. She stated that she withdrew complaint because she was worried about Mr. Lee if he would be accused. If it is not false accusation, why did Mr. Lee let loved girlfriend withdraw complaint?
Ignoring the fandom stuff, she’s basically saying she withdrew the complaint because she was worried the boyfriend would get involved in a countersuit … like this. Oops. While the blackmail charge seems to be legit due to them asking for compensation, given what the judge said and what she maintains, it’s a bit harder to understand the false accusation stuff (if not legally, then logically, at least).
Korea’s consent laws come into play here, because the accuser recanting is not enough for a false accusation conviction, so what the judge says is a rather important step towards a sentence like this.
This means: If the accuser could have reasonably resisted or ran away at any point, the court is unlikely to recognize rape. Having said “no” (alone) is insufficient. The court will also consider the circumstances under which the individuals entered and left the premises.
That standard basically mirrors the judge’s conclusion that she could not have been sexually assaulted because she did not attempt to flee and make force against her necessary. Granted, given the lack of physical evidence, it would basically be impossible to convict him in court. As such, it’s understandable that he got cleared. However, the combination of that standard for consent and the judging of an alleged trauma victim’s behavior is what seemingly sealed the deal for her conviction on false accusation, which makes me a bit wary. Don’t get me wrong, I understand that going by the law there’s logic to the conclusion, but the standards leave me personally puzzled.
Anyway, as I’ve said before, the one thing that’s been consistent throughout is that it’s been hard to conclude anything conclusively in this case. And with this, that trend seemingly continues on, so we’ll see what else happens going forward, if anything.