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Gov't scrambles to root out sexual violence in sports

Science 13:41 January 17, 2019

SEOUL, Jan. 17 (Yonhap) -- The government plans to revise a related law to drastically toughen the punishment for sexual violence in sports as it scrambles to root out sexual crimes on athletes, according to the gender ministry Thursday.

The government plans to come up with a set of plans to eradicate sexual assaults and human rights abuses in sports, Vice Gender Minister Lee Sook-jin said in a press briefing.

The plans are in response to the recent revelation by Olympic gold medalist, skater Shim Suk-hee earlier in the month that her longtime former coach Cho Jae-beom repeatedly sexually assaulted her for years since Shim was a teenager. The exposure sent shock waves across the country, and President Moon Jae-in has called for strict punishment in such cases.

"(The Ministry of Gender Equality and Family) decided to establish a pan-government measure with other related government bodies," Lee said. "(We) also decided to operate a consultative body composed of vice ministers and director-generals from the gender, culture and education ministries."

The backbone of the envisioned plans will be tougher punishment on those who cover up any sexual violence cases involving athletes.

"We decided to proactively revise the concerned law to make the criminal penalty as severe as a prison sentence for sports associations and clubs when they cover up or play down a sexual assault case," Lee said.

As part of the efforts, the gender ministry will step up efforts for the passage of a pending parliamentary bill aimed at stopping sexual crimes in the sports world, the ministry said.

In cooperation with the sports ministry, the gender ministry will look into every athlete susceptible to potential sexual assaults, including some 63,000 student-athletes, it said.


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