Monday, September 17, 2012

Foreign teacher sent to prison for molesting students

Last night the Gyeongbuk Maeil published the following story about the outcome of the trial of the foreign teacher accused of molesting 4 elementary school boys at a school in Daegu in 2010. He fled the country after it happened but was caught and sent back to Korea in April of this year.
American native speaking instructor who habitually molested elementary school student[s sentenced to] prison

An American native speaking instructor who habitually molested male elementary school students has been sentenced to 4 years in prison.

On September 16, Mr. M (56), an American English instructor who had been charged with habitually molesting male elementary school students (contravening the special law punishing sex crimes), was sentenced by the Daegu District Court to 4 years in prison and completion of a 120 hour sexual abuse treatment program, as well as 5 years of having his personal information made public.

On that day the court gave as reasons for this sentence, "The defendant had serious self reflection and had not been criminally punished before and also settled with some of his victims."

Mr. M, who worked at an elementary school in Daegu from 2008 to June 2010, was arrested and charged for molesting 4 boys at the school, including an 11 year old, by reaching inside their underwear and touching their genitals several times.

Immediately after the incident, Mr.M fled to the United States, but during the first half of this year, through international law he was caught and sent back to Korea.
You'd think fleeing the country would have led to a higher sentence, but 'self reflection' and settlements with victims can go a long way. I suppose this guy is lucky he wasn't brought back a year from now, considering all the newly proposed laws purporting to end sex crimes against children.

This case in 2010 led to the announcement of new E-2 visa rules (as noted here and here), and assertions in the media such as 'Deviant and criminal acts by foreign teachers are now common'. The new visa rules involved including marijuana in drug testing and the requirement of federal criminal record checks for North Americans E-2 visa applicants. I guess if you're going to test for drugs, actually testing for the one foreign teachers are caught with most would make sense. What didn't make sense so much sense was leaving HIV tests in place for foreign teachers while removing them for other visa categories. But that's another story.


Anonymous said...

Is this not the first English teacher to be convicted in Korea of a sex crime against his/her own students? Or if it's not the first, how many have there been?

matt said...

There have been a few cases over the years which are listed here, but when it comes to the legal outcome of those cases, only one is known (dropped for lack of evidence), while another reportedly confessed. Not on that list is this case, in which a teacher was sentenced to prison in 2010.