S Korean professor accused of sexually abusing student

A women's college in Seoul accused a member of its teaching staff of sexually abusing a student, sources said Monday, amid rising concerns over a series of similar cases reported in other schools.

Last month, Duksung Women's University filed a police complaint against a professor, whose personal information has been withheld, for molesting a student.

The professor is alleged to have forcibly kissed the student after drinking together early last year.

The school's unusually proactive response to the alleged sex crime could be a wake-up call for Korea's universities, as many have been perceived as slow to respond to similar cases, experts said.

After finding out that there were other victims at the school, the victim filed a report with the college office in December.

Duksung immediately conducted an internal probe and restricted the professor from contacting with the victim. She has been suffering from depression and insomnia since the incident, the school said.

The school also secured an admission of wrongdoing from the professor, school officials said.

In a police probe, however, he denied the charges, public investigators said. The police will summon the professor again soon, they added.

The concerned faculty member was removed from his post earlier this month, the school said.

Public anger has been high since a Seoul National University professor was indicted last year for sexually abusing students.

Kang Seok-jin, a 53-year-old mathematics professor, was suspected of engaging in inappropriate physical contact with nine students between 2008 and 2014. He will face a second trial hearing next month.

A national uproar was sparked after the school accepted Kang's resignation without imposing any penalties.

Recognising his resignation would allow Kang to receive severance and pension payments and automatically wrap up the university's internal probe into the case.

As public criticism grew over the school's leniency, the school withdrew the decision.

The prestigious public school came under fire again earlier this month when another faculty member was suspected of making inappropriate remarks to female students.

While the school is investigating the reported incident, the concerned professor is denying all allegations, university officials said.

In response to the series of sexual crimes, SNU students formed a student body called "Communal Action" last week to better cope with sex offences involving professors.

The group will monitor the school's internal probes into sexual abuse cases and the punishment process for the involved teaching staff, students said. The new body will also directly receive reports from students to help them report their cases, they added.

Many of the victims tend to shy away from reporting abuses by professors because of the teachers' authority and influence, CA said.