Father of ‘math prodigy’ issues apology

June 11, 2015
Kim Jung-yoon's acceptance letters from Stanford University and Harvard College, provided by her father Kim Jung-wook to Korean media, were confirmed forgeries by representatives from both institutions this week.

Kim Jung-yoon’s acceptance letters from Stanford University and Harvard College, provided by her father Kim Jung-wook to Korean media, were confirmed forgeries by representatives from both institutions this week.

The father of the “math prodigy” who made headlines for what turned out to be a false report of dual acceptance and admission to Harvard College and Stanford University made a statement of apology Thursday.

Kim Jung-wook, father of Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology senior Kim Jung-yoon, also known as Sara Kim, said in an email that he takes full responsibility for the incident, Yonhap reported.

“Going forward, my family will put everything toward getting treatment for our daughter and live quietly,” Kim wrote.

News stories about Kim Jung-yoon receiving offers from Harvard and Stanford to complete a special program in which she would attend both schools circulated in both South Korea and in the Korea Daily in Washington D.C., before they were debunked.

Kim Jung-wook had provided dozens of pages of proof in the form of acceptance letters from each university and correspondences between himself and alleged professors at each school.

Representatives from both universities denied the existence of any such program and Kim Jung-yoon’s admission into their institutions Tuesday.

Anna Cowenhoven, a Harvard Public Affairs and Communications official, told Yonhap “there is no program in existence through which a student is admitted to spend two years at Harvard College and two years at Stanford University. We have been made aware of an alleged admissions letter sent to Ms. Jung Yoon Kim by Harvard University. We can confirm that this letter is a forgery.”

Likewise, Stanford Senior Communications official Lisa Lapin confirmed Kim Jung-yoon’s acceptance letter as a false document.

Kim Jung-wook is an executive at Nexon Korea.

Below is the translation of his letter to the press:

I am the father of the child, and I sincerely apologize for causing such a big controversy with false information, and apologize to those involved.

Everything is my fault and my responsibility. I did not know until now how much my child was suffering and hurting and did not properly take care of her. As her father, I regret having pushed my child into deeper sickness and causing the problem to get bigger.

Going forward, our family will put everything toward treating and taking care of our daughter and live quietly. Please forgive me for not being able to explain all the details, as we have not yet finished assessing the entire situation.

My family is the most precious thing to me in any situation. To help my child and my family go forward in recovery without further hurt, I ask that the media cease reports and filming. Once more, with my head lowered, I apologize.


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  2. 312417

    June 12, 2015 at 9:42 AM

    The father’s letter is tragic. I truly feel for him.

    The entire Korean news media pulled a Rolling Stones. Which of them have taken responsibility like this respectful father?

    I truly hope so-called journalists would leave this family alone. He apologized. It’s done.

    • Sam Calat

      June 15, 2015 at 1:11 PM

      The news media reported what was stated by the family. The fault lies with the individual making the false documents in the first place. Considering the handwriting on both documents was THE SAME, I’m not sure how this wasn’t figured out earlier, but this is NOTHING like the Rolling Stone rape story, which was created when a reporter and editor didn’t dig into information that was clearly there.

      By the way – it is indeed called “Rolling Stone”, not “Rolling Stones.”

  3. roboticscaptain

    June 12, 2015 at 9:48 AM

    I feel bad for the family

  4. roboticscaptain

    June 12, 2015 at 9:56 AM

    The lie went too deep and well, public.

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