Prosecution began re-investigating the sexual assault case of Jang Ja Yeon, an actress who took her own life, leaving behind a letter revealing the sexual abuse she had endured thus far.
As part of this investigation, a witness, who was also an actress from the same entertainment company as Jang Ja Yeon, spoke up and shared her story with the public for the first time.
The witness began by describing the day she witnessed Jang Ja Yeon being sexually assaulted, which was on the birthday of their agency’s CEO.
“He (the assailant) pulled her (Jang Ja Yeon) from the table onto his lap and began sexually harassing her. It was the first time I saw this happen with my own eyes.” ㅡ Witness
The actress had apparently testified a total of 13 times to the police and prosecution during the initial investigation, only to be rejected each time.
Despite her detailed account of the incident which she had directly witnessed, the prosecutor in charge did not believe or accept her statement.
This is when she began to feel like something wasn’t right and it was only later that she found out this crucial piece of information.
“I thought it was weird that he trusted the assailant’s words over mine. I was just over 20 years old at the time and didn’t have the greatest sense of judgment, but even so, I felt that something was not right. It wasn’t until later that I found out the man’s (assailant’s) spouse was a prosecutor.” ㅡ Witness
The witness had endured her fair share of hardship as well, continuously receiving psychiatric treatment and eventually leaving Korea when she couldn’t handle it anymore.
The actress confessed that she was asked to step down from dramas and movies simply due to the fact that she was a part of the same entertainment agency and the fact that she bore witness to the case. She continued to receive psychiatric treatment to this day, having even been hospitalized just recently. She had apparently suffered from the guilt of not being able to reveal the truth that led to her friend’s death and the fear that she developed after watching the truth being blatantly swept under the mat.
She has revealed her intentions to continue to do her best to help the case as she has done this time.
“I’m testifying online and through phone calls to help in any way I can. I plan to continue to help with the investigations faithfully as I have done this time and in the past.” ㅡ Witness
Meanwhile, the prosecutor who was in charge of the case responded to the accusations made by the witness stating that the testimonies were not accepted due to the inconsistencies.
According to the prosecutor, the witness had stated that the assailant of the incident she witnessed was “B”. However, when investigations revealed that “B” had an alibi, the witness had changed her testimony and claimed that it was the politician “Cho” and not “B”. Moreover, the witness’s physical description of the assailant had also not matched “Cho’s” physique. While the witness described the assailant as old and short, “Cho” was in fact in his late 30’s and was tall. The prosecutor continued that it was difficult to accept the witness’s testimony due to the fact that she had continuously stated “B” as the assailant until an alibi showed up, only then changing her accusations to “Cho”. The prosecutor further reasoned that Jang Ja Yeon did not disclose anything about being sexually assaulted to anyone and that it was difficult to accept that the witness had any friendly relations with Jang Ja Yeon.
The prosecutor did, however, admit that “Cho” (the suspected assailant) was his acquaintance but excused the subject as preposterous.
“He is my acquaintance. But just because he is an acquaintance, do you think I would disregard the witness’s testimony and defend him? That’s absolutely absurd.” ㅡ Prosecutor
Despite the prosecutor’s defense, however, “Cho” was eventually indicted on June 26, 2018 for sexual harassment charges.
Prosecution had dropped charges against “Cho” in the past, but allegations were acknowledged through the re-investigation, 9 years later.