Friday, May 03, 2013

American wanted for sex crimes against children found to have taught in Korea for the last 8 years

Well, it's been six months without any foreign teachers being arrested for anything (not that that's stopped the media from occasionally digging out old reports to rebroadcast), but that's come to an abrupt end, and there have been more than 50 articles / broadcasts about this. Today the Korea Herald reprinted a Yonhap report which begins like so:
U.S. pedophile suspect arrested in S. Korea after 8 years on the run

An American man suspected of sexually abusing minors in the United States has been arrested in South Korea after an eight-year-long international manhunt, police here said Friday.

The 44-year-old suspect, whose identity has been withheld, is suspected of raping minors in the U.S. state of Kentucky four times between August and October 2003, according to the Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency (SMPA).
One wonders if the Chosun Ilbo will report on this in English and take umbrage at the term 'pedophile,' instead asking that he be called a 'behavioral addict'? Or is that just for Korean 'talents'?

I'm not sure if there was more than one victim or not - the Korean articles don't use any plural terms and make it sound like there was one victim abused four times. Here's a translation of the Donga Ilbo's report:
American who sexually assaulted young girl openly worked as an instructor for 8 years in Korea

Worked in places like language hagwons, elementary schools, and universities.

Police have caught an American wanted for repeated sexual assaults of an underaged girl who openly worked in Korea as an English instructor for more than eight years. To strengthen the management of foreign English conversation instructors, the need for criminal record checks when applying for the visa was implemented, but as they don't include the fact that someone is under investigation or that they are wanted, there are calls for improvement.

The Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency's International Crime Division announced on May 3 that it had arrested A (44), an American, for committing a crime in the US and illegally entering Korea (a violation of the Immigration Control Act), but would shortly deport him to the US.

According to the International Crime Division, he is suspected of sexually assaulting a minor four times between August and October 2003 in Kentucky, and to escape the local police who were pursuing him, he came to Korea via a third country such as Thailand on June 27, 2004. As the investigation was in its early stages at the time and it wasn't until February 2005 that he was put on a wanted list, he had no problems entering the country.

For the last eight years since arriving in Korea, the investigation found that he had worked as a native speaking instructor at places like language hagwons, elementary schools, and universities in the Jeollabuk-do area.

He entered Korea on an E-2 (conversation instruction) visa, which allows foreigners who teach foreign language conversation instruction in public schools and hagwons for up to two years. And when the visa needs to be renewed, it seems complicated in that one must go to another country like China or the Philippines and return to Korea to have the visa reissued.

In particular, from July 2010, when native speaking instructors applied for the education visa, a criminal record check from their home country was requested, but A had no problem. This is because only judgements are recorded on one's criminal record, while the fact that someone is being investigated or is wanted is not.

However, when A applied for an FBI criminal record check, his address in Korea was needed, and investigators in the US were able to learn of his location.

It was found that investigators in the US had known in the beginning that A was hiding in Thailand, so they never made any separate request for investigation to our police.

Police received a request for cooperation in the investigation from the US via Interpol in February, and caught and arrested him.

A police official said, "He has not been found to have committed a crime in Korea, so we plan to deport him to the US." "We will continue to investigate to see if there are more foreigners hiding in Korea who have committed crimes in other countries."
It might be worth noting that every article mentions that criminal record checks became mandatory in 2010. It was actually in 2007; in 2010 it became necessary to get a specifically FBI and RCMP CRC in the US and Canada, respectively (in other countries all local checks included national checks; the fact that the same is true in Canada didn't seem to matter). I also have no idea what this 'two year' long E-2 visa thing is all about. They're issued for a year and I don't know of any limit on how often they can be renewed (at least for public schools - perhaps things have changed for hagwon instructors?).

YTN is all over this (it's published at least ten articles today) and tells us in one report that "For eight whole years he taught English in our country" and adds that he was arrested on April 26. KBS (unlike YTN) allows me to take screen shots, so it's clear he's not gyopo/Korean citizen (they've tended to flee murder charges in the past, not sex crimes).

This MBC report states that he married a Korean woman, and in it he's being interviewed by the police officer who says the warrant was issued in 2005, and the teacher says, "Nobody notified me. Nobody said anything to me. [chuckles] I don't have the money to go back." 

All of the networks have reported this story: Here's a montage of the introductory images:

You'll notice a lot of shadows in those images. They don't hold a candle to the Munhwa Ilbo's cartoon, however, which may be the best 'beware evil white males' cartoon ever:

Incredible, huh? It's likely the best of the English teacher cartoons I've collected (thought this one has a nice demon connection as well), but has some stiff competition from North Korean propaganda. The shadow above is like a souped up version of the one below...

...with one of the screaming children from below added for good measure.

Let's not forget the grudge over Sincheon!

One more time!

Here's how the Munhwa Ilbo article it's in (in hard copy as well) starts:
An American wanted for first degree sexual assault of a child turned out to be... an 'elementary school instructor' on the run in Korea for 9 years

Sexually assaulted a child related to him in 2008... entered the country on an 'E-2 Visa'

One day, an American who worked as a native speaking instructor at places like language hagwons, elementary schools, and universities in the Jeollabuk-do area was drunk and told other native speaking instructors in English, "The truth is, I'm wanted for sexual assault." However, his coworkers didn't care about this.

He usually had an explosive temper, but his coworkers could not help but take as a joke the truth that A, who had worked in Korea as a competent native speaking instructor for nine years, was wanted by the FBI for the sexual assault of a child younger than 12. It was the same for the young students in his class who had no reason to doubt their blue eyed foreign teacher and the parents who believed him and entrusted their children to him.
From the completely wrong date in the sub-headline to an obviously fabricated conversation (thanks for pointing out they spoke together in English - what an authentic detail!), it's quite the work of art. Of course the foreign teachers didn't care, it's not like a friend of Christopher Paul Neil turned him in, or that a foreign teacher reported this mistreatment of a child. Also, this is the only article I've seen that says it was a relative that he abused, so I assume she made that up, too.

It turns out reporter Jeong Yu-jin was busy today, however. There's another article by her which points out the problem with the criminal record checks, and then suggests it doesn't matter since so many foreign teachers are on tourist visas anyways: 
There are 21,254 foreigners on E-2 visas... verification is inadequate
[...] There are not a few cases in which people enter the country on tourist visas rather than E-2 visas to work as native speaking instructors. An official at a foreign language hagwon in the Seoul area said, "There are a lot of native speaking instructors who enter the country first on a tourist visa and after a few months if they like how they're being treated, then they apply for an E-2 visa."
That sounds like she sad down and read this recent MBC 'it's time we reminded people what a problem foreign teachers are' report.

News 1 also went in this direction, and got a few interesting interviews (reporter Jeong above should take a few pointers:
Toothless native speaking instructor criminal record check

An immigration policy division official at the Ministry of Justice said, "It's because the country is following the principle of the presumption of innocence." "When a criminal record check is issued by a country's law enforcement agency such as the FBI, it can't help but not include the fact that an investigation is in process or that the person is wanted."

If foreign law enforcement agencies are cooperated with, not just convictions but also ongoing investigations and wanted notices can be included in the records so they can be fully looked into.

There are also opinions that not just cooperation with foreign law enforcement agencies but also a detailed revision of the related law is needed.

Rep. Sin Hak-yong of the DUP, who led the strengthening of regulations related to unfit native speaking instructors in 2007, said, "A revised regulation to make a check include whether a person is wanted for a sex crime is necessary."

"For the protection of Korean children and youth, when the E-2 visa is issued or extended, the examining of the existing criminal record check to see if it is faked or tampered with should be strengthened," he added.
Nice to see level-headed MOJ officials explaining the "principle of the presumption of innocence," while politicians continue to make dumb suggestions to make it appear as if they're actually doing something. Perhaps Rep. Sin thinks he can get the US to change its legal system a little and waive the presumption of innocence when compiling criminal record checks. (Oh, and send my regards to AES, Rep. Shin).

A Herald Gyeongje article seems to miss the point it makes here about criminal record checks:
It exposes an big loophole in the management of immigration for foreigners and the issuance of the conversation instruction visa.

On the other hand, Article 44 of the Act on the Protection of Children and Youth stipulates that "A person who been confirmed and sentenced for sex crimes can not be engaged in a business that provides educational services directly to children and youth," though there could be a problem with those wanted for sex crimes who have not been convicted being able to work as instructors.

A police official said, "It's a serious problem that sex offenders, who we are very worried may commit another crime, are able to work as instructors for children and youth." "Improvements to the system to filter out foreign instructors lacking qualifications and continuous inspection by the relevant authorities are needed," he added.
That article seems to suggest that the same problem exists for Korean instructors as well, but no one is suggesting anything be done about that - though something must be done with the foreign instructors!

Oh, and it seems foreign teachers in China may be in for a rough time since two foreigners wanted for sex crimes against children have been caught teaching there. The Kukmin Ilbo even reported on it and made this happy little cartoon:


Anonymous said...

The resemblance between the shadow monster soldier and the shadow monster teacher is really uncanny. I'm stunned.

Anonymous said...

Why is S. Korea criticizing the FBI, doesn't Rep. Sin, Hak-yong know that his own S. Korean government condones this - Donga Ilbo/Oct.2012
"Sexual assault convicts allowed to travel abroad remove anklets"
"According to Justice Ministry data submitted to Rep. Seo Young-kyo of the main opposition Democratic United Party, who is on the parliamentary legislation and judiciary committee, 26 people convicted of sexual assault have departed the country under permission from probation officers since 2006, when the system was introduced."

kushibo said...

That Munhwa Ilbo cartoon is dastardly.

Anonymous said...

The guy who is deported to the USA for having sex 4 times with someone underage- I do not buy it as a wholesale violet rape action.... It sounds more like he seduced a teen girl who give herself to him 4 times then the parents busted him and called the cops- In many cases you got older men sexing teen girls who have already had sex wit another teen... they know what they are doing and like it- does it make the adult male fine and innocent? No of course not men should not romance teens- but I for one would not say the guy is automatically some sort of evil through and through guy... then again it could have been a girl child- in which case I would be happy to shoot him up with dead drugs after he has his last meal and sees his religious teacher.