SNU professor indicted for habitual sexual abuse

December 22, 2014
The 53-year-old professor at Seoul National University (C) is questioned by reporters before attending a prosecution probe into sexual abuse charges on Dec. 3, 2014. (Yonhap)

The 53-year-old professor at Seoul National University (C) is questioned by reporters before attending a prosecution probe into sexual abuse charges on Dec. 3, 2014. (Yonhap)

SEOUL (Yonhap) — A professor at the country’s top-ranked university was indicted and detained Monday on suspicions that he had sexually harassed several female students over the past six years, prosecutors said.

The 53-years-old mathematics professor at Seoul National University (SNU) is accused of sexually molesting a total of nine students in 11 instances since 2008, according to the Seoul Northern Prosecutors’ Office.

He allegedly groped their breasts and buttocks and forcibly hugged them either at his office or outside the campus, according to the prosecutors.

Eight other students were also found to have been verbally sexually harassed by the professor, as he solicited them to meet in person and sent unwanted messages, they added.

While under questioning, the professor said he did not remember every detail and that he had embraced the students as a way of greeting them, but apologized to the victims, according to the prosecutors.

The prosecution opened the investigation into the professor in July over allegations that he sexually molested a female intern, in her 20s. She was hired from outside the school to help him prepare for an international math conference held in the summer in Seoul.

News of the high-profile incident prompted other SNU students to make similar claims, with the victims forming a coalition called “Victim X” to urge the school to bring the case to light and to take appropriate measures.

Upon the prosecution indictment on Monday, the school dismissed him from his post and plans to take punitive measures against the disgraced professor, according to its officials.

“After the outcome of a (separate) probe into the case by the school’s human rights center is out, we will make a decision on how to punish the professor,” an SNU official said.

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