New Zealand victim in sexual abuse case requests resumption of settlement process: foreign ministry

SEOUL, The foreign ministry is considering resuming arbitration to settle the sexual abuse case filed by a New Zealander against a South Korean diplomat, after recently receiving a request from the complainant, a ministry official said Thursday.
The former employee at the South Korean Embassy in Wellington has accused the diplomat of groping his body on three occasions in 2017. The diplomat was later disciplined with a reduction in salary for a month and moved to a new post in the Philippines, though he recently came back home at the ministry’s order.
Early this year, the two sides tried to settle the matter after the victim filed a criminal complaint with police in his country, but it was unsuccessful due largely to the differences over compensation, officials said.
“There was a request early this month from the victim to resume the settlement process. We have explained (to him) on two occasions that we are reviewing that request,” a ministry official told reporters. “It’s up to the department in charge to decide whether to resume the process.”
The case came to attention when New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern raised the issue with President Moon Jae-in in phone talks last month. New Zealand has accused Seoul of not cooperating with the police investigation in New Zealand.
South Korea has rebutted such claims and stressed that it had proposed ways to cooperate with the ongoing police investigation in New Zealand in terms of mutual legal assistance and extradition treaties, but Wellington never requested.
On Thursday, the ministry denied a local media report that the victim sent Moon’s office a letter calling for “a fair and just” investigation. In the letter, the report said, the victim also claimed he was never given a proper chance to speak for himself during the internal probe by the embassy in late 2018.
“We asked him to tell us in detail about what had happened. We asked him to submit his statement in writing for the internal probe when our people from the audit office traveled to New Zealand to conduct the investigation,” the ministry official said.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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