Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Who's the Victim in This Crime?

"A 33-year-old female middle school teacher... had sex with a 15-year-old student in her car at an underground park last week," begins Kang Shin-who's report of news that has shocked the nation — Female teacher accused of inappropriate relationship. "The incident is causing a huge stir on the Internet, with some netizens demanding the teacher be prosecuted."

That won't happen, as "the police said they terminated the investigation as the two had sex under mutual consent and there was therefore no legal grounds to punish the teacher," as "current law punishes only adults having sex with those aged under 13." (Schizophenically, Korea does not allow people to marry until they've reached age of majority.) However, "the school plans to fire the teacher for the unethical relationship," and rightly so.

That said, I'm not that scandalized by the case. Of course, since the teacher is married, she should be tried for adultery, which is still on the books here in Korea. Since the teacher was a woman and the student a male, the victim is clearly the husband. (Robert Koehler reports that "oddly, while the newspapers all have the story, her husband has not been told" — ‘Hot for Teacher’ comes to Korea.) and her lover a co-conspirator who should also stand trial, as an adult. It would be a different story had the teacher been male and the student female, of course. In such a case, the teacher's crime would go beyond adultery to statutory rape and robbing a young woman of her virtue.

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