On October 13, the Seoul High Court had sentenced an unnamed South Korean actor to a year of imprisonment and two-year probation for sexually assaulting an actress. The previous verdict of innocence was overturned. The identity of the actor, who was being referred to as "A," has been revealed to be Jo Deok-jae.
As noted by website Soompi, it was previously revealed that during filming of a movie in April 2015, actor "A" had put his hands down an actress's pants and then tore her undergarments. He had also touched her body parts without consent. Apart from the prison sentence and probation, Jo Deok-jae was also ordered to attend 40 hours of treatment program designed for sexual offenders.
In a recent interview Jo Deok-jae said he was innocent and had not sexually assaulted the actress, being referred to as "B." He also denied doing things to her as described by the victim or in the court. "I have a family. How can I shamelessly sexually assault someone when so many staff members are watching me?" he said.
Responding to his comments, the actress in question said, "This is absurd; he already received a verdict. Is he trying to say that the court made the wrong judgment?" She also added, "Jo Deok Jae said he'll be filing an appeal. The case will now be handed over to the Supreme Court, and I will be holding a press conference soon."
She had revealed to the court, while charging Jo Deok-jae, that after the assault, she had suffered from abrasions that lasted for two weeks. She had reported the incident to the police. The court's judge panel had said, "After the filming, the victim's pants' buckle had been undone. At the scene, the victim asked the defendant to apologise for his actions, but the defendant rejected her forcefully. Considering this response, it does not appear that the victim's testimony was false."
The judge's panel had also revealed, "Putting his hand in the victim's pants was not anywhere in the director's instructions, especially as the filming was of the actor's faces, so it is hard to see this as a situation that arose as part of the movie shoot. Also, since the victim did not know any of the director's instructions, she was not in a place to consent. Rather than the defendant planning the action in advance, it appears to have been a spontaneous impulse. However, the intent to molest cannot be denied."
Coming on the heels of the Harvey Weinstein scandal that rocked Hollywood, many women victims of sexual assault, who were initially more discrete in their accusations, fearing for their careers in the male-centric entertainment industries around the world, are now coming out with their stories. Ben Affleck has also been facing a lot of criticism after his past groping scandals resurfaced.
As for Jo Deok-jae, he was part of the cast of 15-season-long TV drama 'Rude Miss Young-Ae' for a number of seasons. However, on October 17, a source from the drama revealed officially that he will not be part of its upcoming season. Jo Deok-jae has appeared in numerous movies. Most notable among them are 'I Saw the Devil,' 'The Good, The Bad, The Weird' and 'The Host.'
Meanwhile, it was also reported earlier that the unnamed actress, "B," would hold a press conference on October 24, as revealed by a film industry insider to Sports Seoul. "She thinks with regret of the disgraceful incidents like this currently happening in the movie industry. She plans to respond as forcefully as possible," the source had said.