2/21/2007

Court rules against 'Lolita' defense in pedophilia case

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.
(aibang@heraldm.com)
By Annie I. Bang

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SeanHayes@ipglegal.com