Two K-pop stars were sentenced to years behind bars last week after being found guilty of raping multiple women and, in the case of one of the defendants, recording the acts and sharing the videos online.
The Seoul Central District Court found Choi Jong-hoon, a 29-year-old musician, and Jung Joon-young, a 30-year-old singer-songwriter, guilty on Friday of raping a woman who was not capable of resisting, CNN reports.
Choi was sentenced to five years behind bars while Jung, who was also convicted of filming multiple women without their consent and then sharing the videos with friends online, received a six-year sentence; both have been ordered to log 80 hours in a sexual violence treatment program, according to the outlet.
Choi and Jung are only two out of multiple artists in the Korean pop music industry who are alleged to have been involved in a series of sex crimes. Jung is alleged to have been the leader of a group that included at least four other men, including Seungri of the popular boy band Big Bang; the men allegedly were all part of a group chat where Jung would share videos of himself having sexual encounters with at least 10 women who did not consent to being filmed, according to the South China Morning Post.
During Friday’s sentencing, Choi and Jung were found guilty of committing a “special quasi-raping,” a term which refers to multiple people collaborating to have illicit sexual intercourse with a person who was unconscious or unable to resist, according to a press release issued by the court and obtained by CBS News.
Judge Kang Seong-soo on Friday accused both defendants of degrading numerous women, The New York Times reports.
“The accused perpetrated sexual crimes against multiple women, degrading women and treating them as mere tools of sexual pleasure,” Judge Kang Seong-soo said. “It’s hard to fathom the pain the victims must have suffered.”
Jung and Choi, who both claimed the sexual encounters were consensual, have a week to appeal the rulings, according to The Times.
Shortly before he was arrested in March, Jung apologized publicly for his actions, CNN reports.
“I am truly sorry. I admit to all charges against me. I will not challenge the charges brought by the investigative agency, and I will humbly accept the court's decision,” he said, adding, “I bow my head in apology to the women who were victimized by my actions.”
In addition to Choi and Jung, other stars who are allegedly under investigation are Seungri, (whose real name is Lee Seung-hyun) of the group Big Bang; actor and singer-songwriter Lee Jong-hyun of the band CNBlue; and Yong Jun-hyung, who was a member of the group Highlight for 10 years, according to the South China Morning Post.
Seungri is also under investigation in relation to a separate case involving the Burning Sun nightclub in Seoul, CNN reports. The night spot has been hit with claims of bribery, drug trafficking, prostitution, and other crimes, according to the Seoul Metropolitan Police; the former idol, who left the entertainment industry after the allegations were made public, was a board member of the club.
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