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Man gets 7-year prison term for running chat room linked to infamous Telegram sex crime case

All News 17:27 November 16, 2020

SUWON, South Korea, Nov. 16 (Yonhap) -- A man was sentenced to seven years in prison on Monday for operating a digital chat room that functioned as a channel to the infamous Telegram chat rooms, called the Nth rooms, in which children and teenagers were sexually exploited.

The Suwon District Court handed down the sentence to the 38-year-old office worker, surnamed Jeon, on charges of running a Telegram chat room named Gotham, connected to four other chat rooms where sexual abuse materials were shared from April to September last year, and a separate pornography website.

The court also banned him from working with children, youth and disabled people for 10 years while ordering a 10-year disclosure of his personal information and 120 hours of sex offender treatment.

This image depicts the Nth Room where scores of illegal sexual exploitation materials were distributed. (Yonhap)

"The accused operated a Telegram chat room to share online addresses of other rooms that had over 10,000 sexually exploitative videos, including more than 100 videos involving children," the court said. "His actions greatly harmed a healthy understanding of sex in our society and resulted in the mass distribution of obscene materials."

The court also said that the accused "derided" law enforcement by writing about how to ward off the probe.

"In particular, he attempted to evade police investigation by using a foreign server and sought to make profits by posting advertisements and receiving sponsorships through his website," the court said.

The man committed the crimes while on probation, which the court said cast doubt upon the sincerity of his regret. He had received a suspended prison sentence in a separate case for distributing illicit pictures of a woman's body.

The prosecutors initially demanded a 3 1/2 year prison term for Jeon, but later raised the request to 10 1/2 years, as the Supreme Prosecutors Office in April toughened penalty guidelines on digital sex crimes amid huge public outcry over the Nth room case earlier in the year. It raised the maximum sentencing request to life imprisonment for a criminal who produces and spreads explicit imagery online.

nyway@yna.co.kr
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