Korea Herald Feb. 20, 2007
Court rules against 'Lolita' defense in pedophilia case
The Supreme Court ruled yesterday that a mental illness involving sexual obsession with children cannot be an excuse for lessened punishment for sexual violence against children.
The top court returned a molestation case to an appellant court for a retrial. The appellant court had reduced a life sentence imprisonment penalty to 15 years after recognizing the offender had so-called Lolita syndrome, or sexual attraction to prepubescent children.
The 39-year-old defendant, identified as Lee, was accused of raping 12 elementary school girls and stealing their money and other articles between February 2005 and January of last year.
A lower court handed down a life imprisonment to Lee, but a High Court excused him for having the syndrome, more commonly known as pedophilia.
"But a disease itself is not a mental and physical disorder that could be an excuse to lessen the penalty," Justice Ahn Dai-hee of the Supreme Court ruled.
"Plus, Lee has refused to receive treatments after being diagnosed as having pedophilia, which could explain that he was not in a severe stage, and that it did not weaken his mentality (to go ahead with his sexual abuses)," he said.
By Annie I. Bang