Sometimes, one movie, one novel, or one article can change the whole thing. And one such phenomenon is happening in Korea now due to an unthinkable success of movie ‘Dogani’. It is based on a novel of the same title ‘Dogani’ by Jee-young Gong (@congjee). The novel is centered around the sexual violence cases by school employees to students happened in a special school for hearing-impaired students in one part of Korea. In the epilogue of this novel, she recalls that she was struck by a news article describing the court just after the ‘cotton club’ sentence delivered to the offenders in the appeal trial. This post is a totally unauthoritative translation of an article (in Korean) appeared in a news site, Nocut News, on September 27, 2011, to deliver an abridged history of the criminal case. As such, full rights about this article are also on the original author of this story or ‘Nocut News’ and this post will be dropped by their request. The original story can be located at the link in the bottom.
Movie ‘Dogani’ hits big time, public opinion sizzles
School employees, beasts in the cover of human face, sexually violated hearing-impaired fragile school girls
Movie ‘Dogani’, based on the sexual violence case happened at Gwangju Inhwa School in 2005, hits big time in Korea attracting close to 1 million viewers within a week since debut and public interest on the actual case gets rocket high. In the internet, people vehemently demand not only reinvestigation of the case but also harsher punishment to offenders.
Inhwa School sexual violence case
Inhwa School sexual violence case is a criminal case where several school employees including even the principal of the school sexually violated disabled school girls in a special school for hearing-impaired students in Gwangsan-gu, Gwangju Metropolitan City.
School employees including school principal as well as chief administration officer and dormitory guidance teacher sexually violated disabled students indiscriminately starting from 2000.
One teacher who could not play blind for such brutality anymore exposed this to sexual violence counseling office in June 2005, which led to police investigation.
In November, the chief administration officer Kim (58) and dormitory guidance teacher Lee (36) were arrested on sexual violence charges. Kim and Lee were sentenced for 1 year and 2 years of imprisonment respectively at the appeal court in August 2006. Kim were charged with sexually violating or assaulting 6 hearing-impaired students aged 7~20 during 2000~2004 period within the school premise.
Later, Korean National Human Rights Commission took up the investigation and more offenders including principal Kim (58) and life rehabilitation teacher Park (60) were charged for sexual violence and assault.
Principal Kim and teacher Park were sentenced 5 years and 10 months of imprisonment respectively in the first trial but released in the second trial with probation in July 2008. The court raised the reasons that they did not have any prior criminal records and made agreements to drop charges with families of offended girls. Principal Kim, set free from probation, died of pancreatic cancer in September 2009.
With renewed public interest in the case from the big time hit of movie ‘Dogani’, public opinion sizzles demanding reinvestigation of the case and harsher punishment than the slap on the wrist punishment already delivered. However, the possibility of reinvestigation seems quite remote practically due to ‘double-jeopardy’ principle which dictates that cases where court already delivered its decision once cannot be opened again.
On the other hand, Inhwa School Sexual Violence Countermeasures Committee (Inhwa committee) put up an online petition on a web portal Daum titled ‘We demand Woosuk Foundation and its supervisory bodies’ on September 25. This petition hopes to draw 50,000 supporters until October 20 and 12,949 people already signed on it by 5PM September 26.
In the petition, Inhwa committee said “We rebuke the heinousness of Woosuk Foundation who would not show any hint of apology for 7 years since the incident took place and the incapacity of supervising bodies who promised thorough investigation and punishment about Inhwa School 1 year ago but could not actually proceed any actual investigation yet.”
- The original article (in Korean) of this translation can be located here: 교사들이 장애학생 성폭행…인화학교 사건 전말