Supreme Court affirms prison terms of singers in rape case

September 24, 2020

 The Supreme Court on Thursday upheld a lower court’s prison sentences for Jung Joon-young and Choi Jong-hoon, two South Korean singers convicted of rape and other crimes.

In May, Jung, a disgraced singer and TV personality, and Choi, a former member of boy band FT Island, were sentenced to five years and 2 1/2 years, respectively, in prison by an appeals court on charges including sexually assaulting women in 2016.

This composite file photo shows Jung Joon-young (L) and Choi Jong-hoon. (Yonhap)

This composite file photo shows Jung Joon-young (L) and Choi Jong-hoon. (Yonhap)

Jung and Choi received prison terms of six and five years, respectively, from a Seoul district court last November. But the Seoul High Court later reduced the terms by one and 2 1/2 years, respectively.

The two singers, both 31 years old, were convicted of raping women during drinking parties in Hongcheon, Gangwon Province, in January 2016 and in Daegu in March of the same year, together with other members of a mobile chat room.

Jung was given a heavier prison term, as he was additionally indicted on charges of secretly filming himself having sex with women and sharing the footage with friends on mobile chats.

The top court said the Seoul High Court’s ruling was not unlawful in convicting the two on charges of aggravated quasi-rape and forced sexual harassment, dismissing the appeals by the two defendants.

The Supreme Court also rejected their claim that their mobile chat room conversations used by prosecutors to back up their criminal charges were illegally collected.

Jung and Choi argued throughout their court trials that their sexual acts with some of the victims were done with mutual consent. But the lower courts issued conviction rulings for the two, saying testimonies by their victims are trustworthy.

In Choi’s case, the appeals court reduced his prison term by half, saying he reached a settlement with a victim.