Verdict of guilty revoked in the case #MeToo of South Korea

SEOUL: A former prosecutor whose trial after groping accusations fueled the movement was released Thursday after his conviction was overturned by the country's superior court.

Ahn Tae-geun, 53, was jailed for two years for abuse of power in January last year after being accused of groping a younger colleague at a funeral in 2015.

After Seo Ji-hyun filed a formal complaint, Ahn allegedly transferred her to a provincial post, significantly impacting her career.

Seo was made public with an emotional live television interview in 2018, which triggered an avalanche of similar accusations against powerful men in fields ranging from art to politics that became a South Korean movement #MeToo.

Despite its economic and technological advances, the South remains a patriarchal society and has one of the thickest glass ceilings in the world for women.

Ahn, who was fired for corruption separately in 2017, could not be charged with sexual abuse because the one-year statute of limitations had expired.

Instead, he was accused of abuse of power, accused of using his position to pressure superior prosecutors to reassign Seo to a minor position in revenge.

But the Supreme Court on Thursday overturned the lower court decision and ordered a new trial, saying it was difficult to conclude one of Ahn's actions, asking a prosecutor to write a document related to the transfer of Seo to a provincial post, It was a form of power. abuse.

The original ruling misunderstood the legal principles on the crime of abuse of official authority, the Supreme Court said in a statement.

The original verdict is annulled and the case is returned for a new review and a new decision.