On October 2nd, an adultery scandal that electrified the country ended with a court case and mourning. The Judicial Research and Training Institute, the most highly respected school in the country, was the scene of a sordid affair between two of its elite students. Among Koreans, there was deep disgust that the country’s most gifted scholars could have committed the betrayal, public insults, and harassment that were exposed in the beginning of early September. A blow by blow of the affair is below, but the best summary may have been written by the mother-in-law of the husband who had the affair. Determined to punish her son-in-law and his lover, the mother-in-law stood outside the main gate of the Institute with a sign describing their shocking behavior.
The mother of the deceased protests in front of the Judicial Training and Research Institute, her sign reads, “A student here, [name obscured] made my daughter hang herself and commit suicide!! She had an affair with my son-in-law for over eight months and then even called up my daughter and told her all about the sex! After abusing and driving my daughter to kill herself, this woman has no right to become a legal professional!!! This woman [name obscured] just thought about herself even after killing my daughter, she will never be forgiven! How dare she become a legal profesional.
Judicial Research and Training Institute expels male student, suspends female student for three months for “inappropriate behavior that harmed the dignity of the institution”.
The JRTI recently decided to expel the man at the center of the ‘adultery scandal’, the strongest punishment possible available under its regulations. The Institute gave the female student who was involved in the affair a three-month suspension.
[Note: In South Korea, anyone who wishes to become a judge, prosecutor, or lawyer, three of the most prestigious jobs available, must first pass the notoriously difficult JRTI entrance exam and study within the institute for two years. All students, upon graduation, can choose to one of the three career paths and expect to have a secure, respected career for the rest of his or her life.Korea is currently changing from this system to an American-style law school format.]
On October 2nd, the JRTI Disciplinary Committee announced the punishment for the two students according to their violation of the National Public Service Law, Article 63. In a statement from the Institute, “Student A hid his marriage status from the female student in his class while he engaged in intimate relations with her, leading to an inappropriate relationship that harmed the dignity of the institution…While Student B (the woman) did not know of Student A’s marriage status before meeting him, her behavior after Student A revealed his marriage, in which she exposed the affair to Student A’s wife, also harmed the dignity of the institution.”
Punishment of students at the JRTI can take the form of expulsion, suspension, loss of salary, or formal reprimand. The only previous time that a student was expelled was in 2003, when a student took pictures of a naked woman, who was not a student, and stole her jewelry. In that case, the student was also arrested. Representatives for the Institute said that, since their students were in training to become officers of the law, they had to be held to the highest standards of behavior. They added that because the students’ actions reflected negatively on the institute, severe disciplinary actions were unavoidable. The committee said that they took into account the fact that the woman, Student B, did not end her relationship with Student A even after finding out that he was married influenced their decision.
According to the results of the JRTI’s investigation, B [the female student] did not show an intention to induce A [the male student] to divorce his wife, although B sent copies of her text messages with A to his wife. Investigation records show that A began a romantic relationship with B in August of 2011, then confessed to B in February of 2013 about his marriage. A told B that he planned to divorce his wife and continued the relationship with B, but then told B in April of 2013 that he wanted to break up with her. B, feeling betrayed, called C and revealed the affair. After C began to insult B, B sent a copy of messages she had exchanged with A to C. Later, B met with C’s mother and said she would set the love triangle straight. The report does not state that B called C and told her to get a divorce or mentioned anything about continuing the romantic relationship with A.
Screenshot of the messages sent between the two students which mentioned their relationship, which the female student sent to the wife. In this image, the male student says, “Even if we are punished for adultery, I want to come clean about this.”
According to the JRTI, A apologized to C after his affair was revealed and even went so far as to set a date for their wedding. The couple had been together since the beginning of law school, however they had only made a legal marriage, rather than an entire wedding ceremony. However, by June, other factors arose that negatively impacted their marriage life, which led to them living separately by the middle of June and soon after filing for divorce. In July, C committed suicide. The JRTI explained that A and C’s decision to seek a divorce was completely separate from any disagreement over excessive dowry, [혼수]. [Note: other articles about the case mentioned that A had demanded a large sum, $930,000, from the parents of the bride for the customary wedding contribution]. A representative from the Institute stated that “this is an issue related to the reputation of the deceased and as such we will not comment”.
The expelled male student will not be able to graduate from the JRTI, and will have to return to attend a law school and take the bar exam if he intends to work as a lawyer.
Article from Money Today:
Judicial Research and Training Institute Launches Investigation into Claims that Female Student in Adultery Case Tutored Illegally
The Judicial Research and Training Institute (JRTI) student at the center of the ‘JRTI Adultery Scandal’, nicknamed Ms. B, 28, has made headlines again after the institute received a tip that she had been working illegally as a tutor. Since it is illegal for current JRTI students to tutor others on the admissions process, the institute has launched an investigation into the incident.
On October 4th, a JRTI representative announced, “After receiving documents on September 30th that indicated that Ms. B had been involved in illegal tutoring activities, the disciplinary committee confirmed the details of the case in a meeting…Since the committee believes that additional details are needed, they scheduled further investigation for the near future.”
The representative added, “the investigation is proceeding as quickly as possible, if misconduct is discovered, then we will take the appropriate measures.” The representative did not announce whether or not Ms. B had admitted to the charge against her.
Online, netizens have raised questions about the timing of the new investigation, referring to the fax that was sent to the JRTI and the complaint to the Supreme Court in the middle of September. “The JRTI was aware of the the illegal tutoring allegations even before the adultery allegations surfaced, the disciplinary committee tried to look the other way to protect one of their own.”
One netizen in particular revealed that the complaint went to the Supreme Court on the morning of the 16th of September, while the same information was sent to the JRTI in the afternoon of the same day. Only on the 30th did the JRTI confirm that it was aware of the illegal tutoring activities.
The representative for the JRTI stated, “in a situation like this, confirmation takes time…When something like this is happening, where faxes and phone calls are coming simultaneously to the Administrative Office, to professors, and to supplementary offices, it is difficult to confirm how tips are progressing.”
If the investigation from the JRTI finds that Ms. B was carrying out tutoring illegally, there will inevitably be additional punishment. Since students at the JRTI are special government employees, under the National Public Service Law, section 64 (dual employment and working for profit), they are unable to work for profit in any area besides their official duties without the specific permission of their employer.
There has been no word about what the specific additional punishment would be for Ms. B. She has already received the maximum punishment of three months suspension in connection with the adultery incident. Since there has never been a precedent of a JRTI student receiving additional punishment, there is no guide to how the institute will punish Ms. B for this misconduct.
A representative from the JRTI said, “Since JRTI students do not usually create problems like this, this is an exceptional case… [When the student receives additional punishment] there is no standard for the length of the punishment.”
Suspicions about Ms. B’s illegal tutoring arose after advertisements for tutoring, allegedly from Ms. B, were identified online.
Claiming to have successfully passed the 52nd Annual Bar Exam, the author of the online ad wrote a post online, saying “Currently, I am teaching a law school student and a student preparing for the first round of the exam. I also have experience serving on the evaluation committee for the first round of the 52nd Bar Exam. I am also currently correcting the practice tests from a second round student from a top university…I offer my methods, knowledge, and information. I can help practice writing answers and provide detailed critiques upon request. Please contact me.” The ad was uploaded in July of this year.
Ms. B has attracted furor from netizens after she engaged in inappropriate relations with a male student in her class and then informed his wife of their adultery. Following Ms. B’s actions, the man’s wife committed suicide.
Selected Netizen Comments:
This homewrecker doesn’t know when to stop. The pathetic institute blindly tried to cover for one of their own [lit. “the crayfish is on the crab’s side”]
They committed adultery together, but they only expelled the man. Expel that bitch as well.
she’s getting what she deserves!!
As if committing murder and adultery wasn’t enough, she went and broke the law ke ke ke Congrats on your hat trick….You are the ‘best’, [name of female student redacted]
Isn’t the most unbelievable thing that this woman was going to become a judge, oversee cases, and work as a lawyer? If she later changes her name, gets plastic surgery, and works as a judge, who could know? Then how unfair would that be to people who are tried in her court? This is crazy.
The guy loses his position…this bitch is just suspended for a few months, what the???
If trash like this lacks basic sense then there isn’t anything she won’t do… This is just the beginning… after she finishes her suspension there is no doubt that she will return to work as a judge…
what a pitiful ministry of justice.. why can’t you handle any investigation?
Just think about this bitch becoming a judge, can you imagine it?! kick this slut out, does she have to kill someone with her own hands to be accused of murder? This bitch is more guilty of killing someone than an actual murderer.
this woman doesn’t have an ounce of morality in her!!
this person is a worthless piece of garbage, you think you could be a prosecutor, lawyer, or judge?? What would happen to people’s faith in the system? Don’t you have any respect, JRTI, kick this woman out.
So she is continuing to break the law. Don’t dismiss this offense casually, they have to kick her out of the institute before she breaks an even bigger law.
if she was capable of this, was she bribing somebody higher up? she’s unbelievable. the courts these days…
In order for people to trust the courts, there must be a firm response to this
what a venerable institution~~
Unless they kick the woman out, there is no way this incident will be resolved.
If she only gets three months suspension, then she will never be able to get rid of her reputation as a homewrecker
So somebody who is going to become a judge or a prosecutor gets greedy and destroys someone else’s family without any remorse, even sends someone to their death. It’s so scary. Prosecutors and judges are highly respected jobs, but then somebody goes ahead and behaves so indecently. Money-grubbing bitch.
tsk tsk, the han of that family has yet to be atoned for… with a brain and body like that, why would she do that??? Why would she wreck someone’s family… there are plenty of good men around, why would it have to end like this
Sources: koreBANG, Money Today, Donga Newspaper
idk, I thought this was a very interesting read. For me, it gave valuable insight into the legal education system in Korea. It also provided some interesting perspectives about the role of law and lawyers in Korea. I don't know, I was really surprised by the school's response to this scandal and how seemingly public this all was, where something like this wouldn't have even made the news where I'm from...also please read netizen comments with a grain of salt...
For folks who are interested in learning more about legal education in Korea, check out this article and this book. I'm so sorry if y'all find this terribly boring, but as a law student and someone interested in education reform, I find this to be incredibly interesting OTL