Man chemically castrated sets precedent in South Korea

On Tuesday, the South Korean Justice Ministry reported that a convicted serial rapist of underage girls will be chemically castrated. This is the first time in Korea's history that such a punishment is exercised since the law was passed at the National Assembly in June 2010 and implemented in 2011, JoongAng Daily reports.

The 45-year-old sex offender, Mr. Park, will be administered drugs such as Leuprolide, intended to reduce the man's libido and "compulsive sexual fantasies" by affecting the production of testosterone. He has reportedly committed four sexual assaults on children: the first was in 1984; then, in 1991, he abducted and raped a 9-year-old girl for four days. He perpetrated the crime again in 1998. Upon being caught raping a 10-year-old girl in 2002, Park was sentenced to 10-years in prison.

The criminal will receive his first treatment in July and will be injected once every three months during the course of three years. He will also undergo behavioral and psychological therapy, and will be monitored through an electronic anklet that will identify his whereabouts.

"Sex offenders over the age of 19, who have sexually offended against children under the age of 16 and are diagnosed with pedophilia, can be subject to such treatment," a Justice Ministry official said Wednesday.

According to the Wall Street Journal, such a measure is already in place in Germany, Sweden and some U.S. states. The law passed after several "shocking child sex exploitation incidents", such as the forced sexual assault by Cho Doo-soon on an 8-year-old girl in Ansan in 2008. The girl received severe internal organ damage as well as tremendous emotional trauma, whereas the perpetrator was sentenced to an overly permissive 12-year prison term, which according to Yoon Sung-min, a clinician who treats child victims, "would be considered nonsense in the United States."

In a 2009 article in the Korea Times, Mr. Yoon commented, "Nowhere in advanced countries are children so easily neglected or abused. None of the laws and regulations of such countries are filled with loopholes allowing sex offenders and crime perpetrators to get away from their responsibilities." Finally, after being delayed due to opposition from civic groups and academics, Mr. Yoon will be glad to know that the chemical castration law is in effect, and that he can now consider Korea to be an advanced country.

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