Theater director Lee Yoon Taek sentenced to 7 years for sexual assaults, unable to be charged with rape

Acclaimed theater director Lee Youn Taek was accused of multiple accounts of sexual assault during the wave of Me Too accusations.

He was alleged to have sexually assaulted nine women on 25 occasions from July 2010 to December 2016. According to the ruling, one of Lee’s actresses suffered depression as she was forced to practice acting, with his hand touching her body, in December 2016. He was additionally indicted for allegedly having members of his troupe stage a performance that was similar to sexual acts in the southeastern city of Miryang in 2014.

Recently he was found guilty and the court sentenced him to seven years in prison.

The Seoul High Court on Tuesday sentenced a famed theatrical director to seven years in prison on multiple sexual assault charges, annulling the lower court ruling that gave him a six-year jail term. The court handed down the guilty verdict to Lee Youn-taek, 67, in a case that sparked a Me Too movement in the art and entertainment sectors in South Korea.

This conviction only makes sense considering he apologized for the sexual assaults. However, he denied accusations of rape, which were conveniently something he couldn’t be charged with.

Many of Lee’s victims alleged he raped them over the years. But rape charges could not be filed under the current law, which took effect in 2013 and allows investigations of sex offenses without the alleged victim filing an official complaint. Many of the alleged incidents involving Lee took place before the current law went into force.

At the time, he gave a less than encouraging denial.

“There were sexual relationships, but it didn’t happen by force. Our thoughts (on it) could have differed,” Lee said.

Furthermore, one troupe member backed at least one account of rape committed by the theater director.

So while at least there’s some semblance of punishment being handed out, by all accounts this seems lenient and the theater director seems fortunate to get away with only this considering the amount of damage he’s inflicted.

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