Former lawmaker and a contender for the ruling Democratic Party’s Seoul mayor candidacy Chung Bong-ju on Monday denied allegations of sexual misconduct, calling them a “political conspiracy.”
Chung, lawmaker from 2004 to 2008, also said he would continue with his bid for Seoul mayor in the June 13 local elections.
Chung Bong-ju (Yonhap)
“The news report (on the claimed misconduct) was released without checking the facts,” he said in a press meeting at the National Assembly. “It is not true that I met the alleged victim on Dec. 23 or Dec. 24, 2011, and it is also not true that I sexually harassed her.”
Since Wednesday, local news outlet Pressian released a series of reports that said the former lawmaker attempted to sexually assault a female university student in 2011. The alleged victim is now working as a reporter.
According to Pressian, Chung and the victim first met at one of Chung’s lectures in November 2011. The reports allege that the victim felt “burdened” by the relationship after Chung, who was married, started to contact her privately.
After Chung was sentenced to a year in prison for violating the election law, he asked the victim to meet him for the last time before he went to jail on Dec. 26, and they met at a closed room in a hotel cafe in Yeouido, Seoul, on Dec. 23, according to the report.
The report also quoted the victim as saying that Chung had tried to kiss her while hugging her, after making several inappropriate remarks regarding her appearance and personal relationships.
However, Chung flatly denied the claims that he met the victim on the alleged dates. He also raised the suspicion that the news report was falsely created to politically bring him down, pointing out that the news broke just an hour and a half before his planned press conference to announce his bid for the Seoul mayor position.
“I cannot but see that releasing the report just before my planned press meeting was an attempt to cut my political lifeline,” he said.
Chung demanded a correction report and an apology from the news agency, adding that he would take all legal steps if the news agency fails to take action.
Meanwhile, a former presidential office spokesman, Park Soo-hyun, announced that he would resume his electioneering for the South Chungcheong Province governor position Monday, a day after he denied allegations of power abuse and an extramarital relationship.
On March 6, Park announced that he would halt his electioneering after former South Chungcheong Province Governor An Hee-jung was accused of sexually assaulting his female secretary. Park expressed regret over “his friend” An, as he had also worked as An’s spokesman.
By Jo He-rim (firstname.lastname@example.org)