The criminal trial of former Lotte Giants pitcher Seo Jun-won, who shocked the baseball world earlier this year, is about to reach its first verdict. The Busan District Court will deliver its first verdict at 2 p.m. on March 13 against Seo, who is charged with violating the Sexual Protection of Children and Adolescents Act (including production and distribution of sexually exploitative material).
According to reports, Seo Jun-won sent sexually explicit messages to the victim, whom he met through an open chat room on Messenger around August last year, about 60 times, pretending to give her money. On seven separate occasions, he sent photos of the victim’s body parts. He allegedly asked the victim to show him pornographic images of herself over video calls, but she refused, and he threatened to publish her photos if she didn’t do what he wanted.
The investigation into Seo reportedly began around December of last year, but he did not inform Lotte. The club is said to have been unaware until an arrest warrant was requested for him in March this year, adding to the controversy. Among the various charges against him, the ruling of the first trial on the 13th will be centered on the production of sexual exploitation of children and adolescents, as well as intimidation and coercion through filming.
According to the Act on the Sexual Protection of Children and Adolescents (abbreviated as the Juvenile Sexual Protection Act), “child and adolescent sexual exploitation” is defined as
“Sexual exploitation of children and adolescents” means expressions that feature children and adolescents, or persons or expressions that can be clearly recognized as children and adolescents, engaging in sexual acts or other sexual acts. Legally, it can be in the form of films, videos, games, or images or videos through computers or other communication media.
The law severely punishes the production and distribution of ‘child and youth sexual exploitation’. In particular, anyone who produces, imports, or exports sexual exploitation of children or adolescents shall be punished by indefinite imprisonment or organic imprisonment for a term of five years or more (Article 11(1)). Case law has recognized that a defendant can “produce” pornographic images of children and adolescents if he or she allows them to film themselves. Even if the defendant did not shoot the video himself, if he planned it or gave specific instructions, it was considered production without any special circumstances (Supreme Court ruling 2020do18285).안전놀이터
Seo denied that he knew the girls were minors, not only during the investigation but also during the first trial. As child and adolescent sexual exploitation requires the target to be a child, the fact that he did not know that he was a minor is a denial of intent to produce such child and adolescent sexual exploitation.
The ruling on the threatening charge is also worth watching. “The Special Act on the Punishment of Crimes of Sexual Violence (abbreviated as the Sexual Violence Punishment Act) states that a person who threatens a person using a filmed image or reproduction (including a reproduction of a reproduction) that may cause sexual desire or shame shall be subject to an organic imprisonment of one year or more (Article 14(3)(1)), and a person who interferes with the exercise of a person’s rights or causes a person to perform an unobligatory task through such threats shall be subject to an organic imprisonment of three years or more (Article 14(3)(2)). “The Juvenile Sexuality Protection Act and the Sexual Violence Punishment Act also stipulate sexual offenses against children and adolescents in Article 14(3). As the above provisions punish even adults, they are punishable even if it is admitted that they did not know the victim was a minor.
Seo Jun-won reversed his position and admitted to the charges during the second hearing on March 23. He also submitted an agreement with the victim. He admitted that he knew she was a minor. At that time, the prosecution asked for six years in prison, and in his closing statement, Seo Jun-won and his defense attorney said, “I ask the court to consider that I am in a difficult situation due to this incident, such as being expelled from the Korea Baseball Organization, released by my club, and divorced from my wife. I want to stop my crooked behavior if I can turn back time. If the court gives me one more chance, I will not lose hope and live a proper life for my ex-wife, son, and parents. I would like to take this opportunity to express my sincere apologies to the victims and their parents.”
There are less than ten days left until the first trial verdict. A legal judgment will be made on wrong gender ideas and attitudes towards children and adolescents. While keeping in mind that the sexual exploitation of children and adolescents is a criminal offense, we hope to be teachers.