SEOUL, Oct 3 (Korea Bizwire) – A damage compensation suit raised by the sexual molestation and rape victims of the so-called “Dogani” incident was thrown out by the judges of the Seoul Central District Court.
The Dogani incident occurred in Gwangju Inhwa School, a school for hearing-impaired students in Gwangju in the southwest, in which at least nine of their deaf-mute students were sexually abused by six teachers including the principal between 2000 and 2003.
Of the six perpetrators, four received prison terms, while the other two were freed because the statute of limitations for their crimes had expired. Even for the four, two were released after less than a year in jail and four of the six teachers were reinstated in the school.
The real-life events were later published in a book in 2009 and then adapted into a movie “The Crucible” (Dogani in Korean) in 2011 that drew almost 5 million viewers.
The civil court judges of the court said in a statement, “The seven victims of the incident raised a compensation suit against the central government and the city government for negligence in supervising the public school. But they did so after the statute of limitations for demanding compensation to the state had expired and there is not enough evidence to find fault with the state that led to sexual abuse.”
To this, the attorneys who represented the plaintiffs said, “It is regrettable that the judges did not acknowledge the victims’ trauma as injury and just stated the statute of limitations has expired. We will appeal the case to a higher court.”
The plaintiffs had raised the civil suit in 2012 to ask for compensation of 445 million won (US$419,000) for neglecting to supervise the Wooseok Foundation, the operating organization for Gwangju Inhwa School.
To the verdict, Internet discussion boards were abuzz with critical comments such as “Is Korea a paradise for sex offenders?” and “It is lamentable that I live in an underdeveloped country when it comes to sex crimes.”
By M.H. Lee (firstname.lastname@example.org)