Waiting for the first trial verdict in Seo Jun-won’s case

The criminal trial of former Lotte Giants pitcher Seo Jun-won, who shocked the professional baseball world early this year, is about to reach its first trial. The Busan District Court will make its first ruling on Seo Jun-won, who was indicted on charges of violating the Act on Sexual Protection of Children and Adolescents (producing and distributing sexually exploitative material, etc.) at 2 o’clock on the 13th.안전놀이터

According to reports, around August of last year, Seo Jun-won sent sexual messages about 60 times to a victim he met through an open messenger chat room, lying as if he would give her money. He then received photos of major parts of the victim’s body seven times. Seo Jun-won asked the victim to show him a video of him performing an obscene act through a video call, but he refused, and he allegedly threatened to make the victim’s photos public if she did not do as he wanted.

It is said that the investigation into Seo Jun-won began around December of last year, but he did not inform Lotte of this. The controversy grew further as it was reported that the club did not know until an arrest warrant was requested for him in March of this year and the court ruled that his arrest was appropriate. While facing various charges, the first trial ruling on the 13th appears to be about the production of sexual exploits of children and adolescents and threats and coercion using filmed footage.

According to the Act on the Protection of Children and Adolescents from Sexual Abbreviation (abbreviated name: Youth Sexual Exploitation Act), ‘Children and Adolescent Sexual Exploitation Materials’ 
refers to sexual acts that feature children, adolescents, or people or expressions that can be clearly recognized as children or adolescents. It means expressing the content of doing or other sexual acts. Legally, it applies to anything in the form of film, video, game, or image or video through a computer or other communication media.

The law severely punishes the production and distribution of ‘child and adolescent sexual exploitation materials.’ In particular, anyone who produces, imports or exports sexual exploitation materials of children or adolescents shall be punished by imprisonment for life or imprisonment for a fixed term of 5 years or more (Article 11, Paragraph 1). Precedents consider it as ‘production’ even if the defendant causes a child or adolescent to film pornography of themselves. Even if the defendant did not film it himself, if he planned and filmed it or gave specific instructions, it was considered a production without special circumstances (Supreme Court ruling 2020Do18285). 

Seo Jun-won denied knowing that he was a minor, not only at the investigative agency but also at the first trial date. Since the target of child and youth sexual exploitation material must be a child, the fact that he did not know whether he was a minor means that he denied the charge by denying his intention to produce such child and youth sexual exploitation material.

The ruling on the intimidation charge is also worth watching. According to the Special Act on the Punishment of Sexual Violence Crimes (abbreviated as the Sexual Violence Punishment Act), if a person is threatened using a film or reproduction (including copies of reproductions) that may cause sexual desire or shame, he or she shall be punished by imprisonment for a term of not less than one year. Article 14-3 Paragraph 1). In addition, a person who interferes with a person’s exercise of rights or makes a person do something that is not his/her duty through such threats shall be sentenced to imprisonment for a fixed term of three years or more (Article 14-3, Paragraph 2). The 「Juvenile Sexual Protection Act」 also stipulates Article 14-3 of the 「Sexual Violence Punishment Act」 as a sexual crime against children and adolescents. As the above regulations punish even adults, they are punished even if it is acknowledged that they did not know that the victim was a minor.

At the second trial held on the 23rd of last month, Seo Jun-won reversed his position and admitted to the charges. He also submitted the agreement he reached with the victim. He admitted that he knew he was a minor. At the time, the prosecution requested a 6-year prison sentence, and Seo Jun-won and his defense attorney said in their final statement, “We ask the court to consider the fact that he was in a difficult situation due to this incident, including being expelled from the Professional Baseball Association, being discharged from his club, and divorcing his wife.” “If I could turn back time, I would like to stop his crooked actions. If the court gives me one more chance, I will not lose hope and live a decent life for my ex-wife, son, and parents.”

There are less than ten days left until the first trial ruling. Legal judgments are made regarding incorrect sexual notions and attitudes toward children and adolescents. I hope to become a teacher who keeps in mind that sexual exploitation of children and adolescents is a product of crime.

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