SEOUL, March 5 (Korea Bizwire) – Lee Youn-taek, a renowned theatrical director and writer, has been placed under a temporary travel ban, police said Monday, as part of a probe into growing allegations that he sexually assaulted numerous female junior colleagues.
The Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency said the travel ban on Lee is effective for the next 12 hours starting from 2:30 p.m. Monday, and will be extended for a month once they get approval from the Ministry of Justice.
Police have launched an investigation after 16 women filed a complaint with prosecutors late last month accusing Lee of sexual violence. Prosecutors instructed the sex crimes unit of the Seoul police agency to take charge of the case.
The victims, who had belonged to his famous drama troupe, claim that they were raped and sexually molested by Lee.
The 66-year-old issued an apology to the victims of the alleged misdeeds during a press conference, but victims and critics have questioned his sincerity amid increasingly intense public scrutiny.
A flurry of allegations of sexual misconduct is sweeping through South Korea in what has become a continuation of the “Me Too” movement spreading in legal, cultural and religious circles.
Police have begun preliminary probes into a dozen MeToo cases including Lee’s. One of them includes a fresh allegation that drama professors at Myongji College sexually harassed their students.
Under the current law regarding sexual violence, Lee can be charged with committing adultery or harassment by force. But he can only be held accountable for cases that happened after June 2013, since sexual offenses were not subject to prosecution without the victim’s complaint until the law was revised.