Update: Jo Deok Jae Receives Prison Sentence For Defaming Actress Who Accused Him Of Sexual Assault, Files Appeal

Updated January 19 KST:

According to the Uijeongbu District Court on January 18, Jo Deok Jae has filed a written appeal after being sentenced to a year in prison for defamation. He reportedly has claimed that the sentencing was unjust.

It’s reported that it’s possible that the prosecution, who had requested three years in prison for Jo Deok Jae, will also appeal the sentence.

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Original Article:

Actor Jo Deok Jae has been sentenced to one year in prison for uploading a post that defamed an actress who had accused him of sexual assault.

Warning: discussions of sexual assault, harassment, and self-harm. 

In April 2015, Ban Min Jung reported to the police that she had been sexually assaulted by Jo Deok Jae while filming a movie. Jo Deok Jae claimed that the actress had made a false accusation and sued her for defamation and filed a damage suit for 50 million won. Ban Min Jung counter-sued with her own damage suit, which resulted in Jo Deok Jae being fined and his lawsuit rejected in May 2019.

In October 2017, Jo Deok Jae was found guilty of sexually assaulting Ban Min Jung and was sentenced to one year in prison with a two-year probation and 40 hours of a treatment program for sexual offenders. In September 2018, the Supreme Court dismissed Jo Deok Jae’s appeal and upheld the original sentence.

On January 15, 2021, the Uijeongbu District Court sentenced Jo Deok Jae for defamation under the Act on Promotion of Information and Communication Network Utilization and Information Protection, related to the punishment of sexual violence crimes.

Another person identified only as “Jung,” who lives with Jo Deok Jae, was charged with the same crime and sentenced to six months in prison, suspended for two years of probation.

Jo Deok Jae and “Jung” were charged for defaming Ban Min Jung and revealing her personal information without permission through uploading posts and videos on the internet between October 2017 and January 2019.

The court ruled, “Jo committed such wrongful acts as manipulating the real video of the act of sexual assault and making other videos and uploading them to make it seem as if the victim was lying. Although it appears as though these acts were committed accidentally while he was complaining about the sexual assault accusation, it seems that he continues to hold a grudge against the ruling of his second trial and has continued to commit these actors over a long period of time. The victim has also pleaded for a severe punishment in this case.”

After the court’s ruling, Ban Min Jung shared a post about her feelings on social media. She said, “The only choice left for me was legal action. It took me some time, but today he was given a guilty verdict. While pursuing legal action, I collapsed mentally and physically and thought several times of self-harm and suicide. My entire life has been shaken. However, I endured until the end because I thought that if I succeeded in receiving the acknowledgment of the courts, I could give other sexual assault survivors hope that the truth will be revealed as long as we stay alive. This case is not a simple topic for gossip, but a serious social problem. I hope that this judgment will set a meaningful precedent for the future.”

She continued, “I ask that everyone recognize the truth that these people spread false information about me and stop the attacks on me. I am thinking of pursuing further legal action against those who continue these attacks on me even after it was proved that the accused has defamed me.”

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