S Korean President sorry over grope case
South Korean President Park Geun-hye apologises for the ‘shameful incident’ caused by her former spokesman’s sexual harassment allegations.PT1M9S http://www.canberratimes.com.au/action/externalEmbeddedPlayer?id=d-2jiwi 620 349 May 14, 2013
SEOUL: President Park Geun-hye of South Korea struggled to contain the biggest setback of her three months in office, offering her apology over a scandal in which her main spokesman was accused of sexual abuse and indecent exposure in a hotel during her visit to Washington last week.
The spokesman, Yoon Chang-jung, was fired and returned home before the state visit ended Friday. But the scandal completely overshadowed the visit. Korean newspapers covered the scandal in front-page headlines, and blogs brimmed with criticism over "national humiliation" while Ms Park's staff bickered with Mr Yoon over the embarrassing details.
Angry South Koreans called on their government to extradite Mr Yoon to the United States, in the belief that he would face harsher punishment there than in South Korea.
With the Washington police investigating the case, angry South Koreans called on their government to extradite Mr Yoon to the United States, in the belief that he would face harsher punishment there than in South Korea.
Yoon Chang-jung, spokesman of South Korean President Park Geun-hye, speaks in front of reporters at the presidential Blue House in Seoul in May. Photo: Reuters
"I am sorry that an unsavory incident, which a public servant should never be involved in, occurred near the end of my visit to the US and greatly disappointed the people," Ms Park said at the beginning of her weekly meeting with senior secretaries.
The case caught fire partly because of mounting frustration in South Korea with the widespread tendency among men, especially those in positions of power, to trivialise the harassment of young women.
The scandal surrounding Mr Yoon also fed into a larger criticism levelled at Ms Park's administration - that she is appointing people with questionable ethical standards for important posts in her administration and staff. At least half a dozen of her appointees have already been forced to quit amid charges of tax evasion and other misdeeds.
Mr Yoon was accused of mistreating a young Korean-American intern at the South Korean Embassy in Washington who was serving as his guide. In a Washington police report, the victim said Mr Yoon had grabbed her buttocks without her permission. Ms Park's office said Mr Yoon's "indecent acts damaged the national prestige," but it did not give details. Mr Yoon has denied behaving inappropriately.
The presidential office had previously apologised for the appointments of problematic people in the government, but until Monday, Ms Park had not apologised.
"I hope this will serve as an opportunity for all public officials to reflect on their attitudes and have greater control over their own attitudes," she said.
Ms Park, the country's first female president, has cited sexual violence as one of "the four biggest evils" in the country. But she did not mention sexual harassment in her statement on Monday.
New York Times