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Rules toughened for sex offenders in public service

Any civil servant sentenced to a fine of 1 million won or more for sex offense will automatically lose his job, and those expelled for sex crimes against minors will be permanently barred from public office from April next year.

Under the revised rules on state public officials, persons preparing for civil service exams will also be barred from getting appointed to public office for three years if they are fined 1 million won or more for a sex offense.

Those who receive jail term or medical treatment and custody for sex crimes against minors will be permanently forbidden from becoming civil servants.


The National Assembly has passed the revised bill, and the Cabinet on Monday approved its proclamation on Oct. 16, the Ministry of Personnel Management said Monday.

The toughened law will take effect on April 17 next year, and will not apply to people on trial for crimes committed before that date.

Under the current State Public Officials Act, persons sentenced to a fine of at least 3 million won for a sex offense are disqualified as civil servants. This has been revised to 1 million won. Persons who receive suspended jail term for a sex offense will also be disqualified.

The range of offenses considered has also been expanded. Currently only convictions for abusing their position to have sexual intercourse with someone under his or her guidance or supervision, or committing an indecent act on such persons were subject to the ban. This has been changed to convictions of “any type of sex offense.”

Once sentencing is finalized, the convicted civil servants will be barred from entering public service for three years, instead of two years under current rules.

The revised law also stipulates that should a case of sexual violence or harassment occur in public service, anyone can report it, and that the head of the public agency must take necessary measures without delay. If the agency connives or covers up such acts, the ministry can make public the name of the agency and facts regarding the act through an inspection.

Under the revised law, should a public official raise problems related to sexual violence or harassment, a central panel under the Ministry of Personnel Management, instead of the concerned agency’s internal committee, can look into the matter.

“The latest revision of the State Public Officials Act sends a strong message that the government will not tolerate sex offenses,” said Minister of Personnel Management Kim Pan-suk.

“We expect zero tolerance on sex crimes across the Korean society as personnel management standards for civil servants are often applied in the private sector as well.” 

By Kim So-hyun (