Assembly passes bill on special counsel probe into Air Force sexual abuse case

SEOUL-- The National Assembly approved a bill Friday calling for an independent investigation into a sexual violence case in the Air Force that led to the suicide of the victim.

The female master sergeant, named Lee Ye-ram, killed herself in late May 2021 after claiming she was sexually abused by a male colleague. The perpetrator was sentenced to nine years in prison in December.

The proposal was passed unanimously by 234 lawmakers attending the plenary session, with the victim's father watching from the public gallery.

The bill calls for a special counsel probe into the sexual abuse case as well as alleged secondary offenses, and suspicious cover-up attempts by the Air Force and the defense ministry.

Her tragic death caused public fury and forced the then Air Force chief of staff to resign. A total of 15 suspects were indicted in the case, and 38 people, including the suspects, faced disciplinary measures.

The ministry and the Air Force were under fire, as they failed to take measures to protect the victim, and some officials allegedly attempted to cover up the incident.

The ruling Democratic Party and the main opposition People Power Party sought to pass the bill earlier this month, but they failed due to differences over the process of appointing the special prosecutor.

Source: Yonhap News Agency