Air Force general demoted for mishandling sexual assault case

An Air Force brigadier general has been demoted to colonel for mishandling a sexual assault case that led to the suicide of a female non-commissioned officer. Jeon Ik-soo, the Air Force's chief legal affairs officer, became the first general in 43 years to be reduced in rank.

The demotion carries a special significance in that it rang an alarm bell for the military's flawed investigation of sex crimes. However, the disciplinary action is overdue and insignificant, considering the tough process that finally led to Jeon's indictment and disciplinary measure. He was one of seven people who were indicted in September by an independent counsel for attempting to cover up the sexual assault case and defaming the victim, Master Sergeant Lee Ye-ram. The victim took her own life in May 2021, two months after she filed a sexual assault complaint against a male colleague of the same rank.

But Jeon had been exempt from indictment in the defense ministry's own probe on the grounds that he was not responsible for what appeared to be the military's poor initial probe into the incident. This was certainly incomprehensible, considering that Lee's suicide was precipitated by a cover-up by her unit and defamation by her superiors while the military's investigation was underway. What's deplorable is that Jeon was not suspended from duty until Lee's bereaved family filed a complaint.

It's not difficult to figure out why sex offenses have been rampant in the barracks. In the event of a sex crime, the military often makes it a rule to shield the assailant and cover up the case. Our top military brass should be aware of this pitiable reality and take time for self-examination. Whoever commits sex offenses in the military must be punished harshly, but what's even more problematic is the dereliction of duty on the part of military prosecutors and commanding officers. The Air Force demotion case should serve as a warning for the military to begin taking severe disciplinary action against those who deal with sex crimes too lightly.



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Overdue disciplinary action

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30.11.2022
Air Force general demoted for mishandling sexual assault case

An Air Force brigadier general has been demoted to colonel for mishandling a sexual assault case that led to the suicide of a female non-commissioned officer. Jeon Ik-soo, the Air Force's chief legal affairs officer, became the first general in 43 years to be reduced in rank.

The demotion carries a special significance in that it rang an alarm bell for the military's flawed investigation of sex crimes. However, the disciplinary action is overdue and........

© The Korea Times


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