[Note from the editors: In order to give some background on the Lee Jung-hee scandal, we have translated this Dispatch article without netizen comments. This is a rarity for us here at koreaBANG. We will soon publish a second piece on the subject with responses from Korean netizens.]
“Shocking twist”…The whole story of the mother and two sons’ sexual abuse case
On July 25th, the SBS TV program “I Want to Know The Truth” launched an investigation into the mother and two sons’ sexual abuse case. There was a shocking twist. There was no evidence that could prove the mother’s claims. The program noted their suspicion that shaman Kim might be behind them. Let’s take a look at what the production team revealed.
On October 29th, 2014, a woman in her 40s and her two sons held a press conference. The title was “Press conference to demand thorough investigation of Mr. Heo and his father’s sexual crimes”. She mainly claimed that her husband, Pastor Heo, her father-in-law and her own parents’ family members all worked together to rape her and her sons. She even claimed that they had had orgies.
Lee: “Would you believe my sons and I had sex with my husband and father-in-law? But it really happened. Sometimes, my father-in-law brought a dozen of his believers. On such a day, we would have an orgy.” (The older son and younger son will be called by false names Junho and Junsu hereafter.)
Lee: “They injected some liquid from a 5~6 cm long colored ampule into me. After getting injected, I lost my shameful feelings and felt drowsy. My husband said those were aphrodisiacs and drugs.”
What’s more shocking was that the young boys were involved in these acts. They are 17 and 13 years old. They also made the same claims.
Junsu: “My dad began beating and raping me since when I was 5 years old. It is all true that my dad and grandfather did all those things.”
However, the production team was not able to meet Lee.
Later in June, the mother and two sons began speaking up again. They appealed to the public through their posts on Nate Pann and videos on YouTube.
Lee: “I want to tell our fellow citizens that we indeed suffered from sexual abuse and sex trafficking. It was all my fault so arrest me. But please save my children at least.”
Let’s sum up her story. Her husband Heo who is a church pastor, and her father-in-law, forced her and her two sons to have orgies with family members and beat them if they refused. They injected drugs even into their young sons while she helplessly watched them get raped.
What is the truth after all?
The production team met them in March this year. They came to the broadcasting station saying they cannot hide anymore.
Lee: “Back then, I couldn’t trust anyone. The more people got to know the truth, the more covered up it became.”
Lee: “Took drugs, had sex, gave or took money, took pictures, sold them on the internet and shared the income.”
She even claimed that she was a victim of the church’s sex trade business. She told an incredible story about being filmed and her videos being circulated.
Junsu: “No matter how much my anus was bleeding, I couldn’t get treated for it because Dad didn’t let me go out. Because he was afraid that I would say I was raped by my dad to a doctor. He didn’t let me go to the hospital at all.”
Lee sought to reveal the truth so her two sons could have a future.
The next day, Lee and her younger son went to the Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency. These days, all they do is file lawsuits and make statements.
Prosecutor: “Junsu, do you know this person?”
Junsu: “I know him because he raped me.”
Prosecutor: “Where and how did it happen?”
Junsu: “It was always the same. He came to our house.”
There are a number of names on Lee’s notes. She intends to sue all of them.
Lee: “I can’t count the exact number but I am suing about 30 people now. There are dozens more. This is the only way to express that we have been victimized by this many people.”
The older son, Junho, was even admitted to a mental hospital.
Junho: “This is my fifth hospital. My dad always tries to find me at the hospitals. He wants to kidnap me. Even if Dad is not around me now, he still appears in my dreams. I keep getting reminded of how our family had sex. Sometimes, mom and I had sex with each other, too.”
The church’s staff members claimed her statements were all lies.
However, Lee said she has proof that the church is lying.
Lee: “In 1991, soon after I began attending the church, there was some trouble there. Several women sued my father-in-law. The crimes he was accused of were real.”
She said her father-in-law was also a sex offender who raped his believers.
Lee: “If you look at a king long ago, he had his queen and many concubines. It was like that. He taught my husband to do the same and make all women at the church his own so that the women would help him later.”
But, the church’s lawyer had a different story.
Lawyer: “Regarding the sexual assault case, he was found to be innocent at the Supreme Court. The appeal was dismissed. It was also proven that his church was not a cult.”
If what Lee claims is true, why didn’t her case receive much attention?
Lee: “I’ve talked to journalists but they were all paid off.”
She claimed that her husband and his father bought off the media with the huge amount of money they have.
Lee claimed that they are still threatened by Heo and his father even after running away. She said they became fugitives after they revealed the church’s secrets last year.
Again, the church’s story is different.
Church staff member: “In 2007, pastor Heo and his wife were kicked out of our church because there was an issue. Since then, we were unable to contact them. We don’t even know their contact information.”
The production team was able to contact pastor Heo after asking around. According to the mother and two sons, Heo forced them to take drugs and engage in the sex trade, and he was able to cover up all his evil deeds with his enormous power and wealth. When the team actually met him in person, he was living in a humble studio apartment. He was making a living delivering pizzas.
What does Heo want to say?
Heo: “I haven’t seen my kids for 2 years and 2 months. When I go deliver pizza, 80% of the time, kids come to the door first. Then I find myself asking them how old they are. I tear up if they say they were born in 2002. I wonder if my kids might have grown up like that. Nobody would notice if I cried on a motorcycle. I just grit my teeth and take it. I know that I will be able to see my kids again someday.”
Heo said he still loves his children and wife. He said his family was happy like any other normal family.
Heo: “I was not a terrible dad. When my wife was in the US, she survived through hard times and raised our kids well. She began to change little by little after she came back to Korea. All she asked for was a divorce.”
Lee took care of her kids while they were studying abroad for 10 years. Heo said she changed since 2006 when she came back to Korea. He said she left home with the kids and demanded a divorce.
Heo acknowledged that the divorce was granted because of his violent behavior. In the divorce suit, he said the custody was given to his wife because of that. However, he said what his wife and sons said at the press conference was not true. In fact, there was no mention of sexual abuse in the court ruling for the divorce.
Heo: “My wife never said anything like that during our divorce suit. Then I made an appeal against the first ruling. I demanded the right to see my children twice a month. Right after that, she began to mention sexual abuse.”
What did the police department investigation reveal?
Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency’s sex crime investigation team: “She said there are many videos showing her family engaging in sexual acts. I thought if there was really such a video, it would be truly shocking.”
The police raided Heo’s house, car, motorcycle, etc. but there was no single piece of evidence that could prove Lee’s claims.
Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency’s sex crime investigation team: “We analyzed the videos we found for several days. Those videos only showed the children growing up, family trips, and the like.”
What do the mother and sons think about this?
Junsu: “My dad’s whole life is a lie. Everything he says is a lie. When we went out together, he took pictures to show that we are a good family.”
They claimed that every video was filmed according to Heo’s demands.
As of now, the only basis for the sexual abuse accusation is the mother and two sons’ statements. The mother and sons went to Cheongju in Chungcheongbuk-do for cross-examination with another person who was accused of sexual violence against them. She’s sued dozens of people so far.
Junsu: “He looked at me when I asked him to look at my face. He didn’t acknowledge his crime until the end. He said he saw me for the first time. I exactly remember his face because he raped me for several years.”
They also went to a village in the countryside. Lee said there are more than just a few sex offenders in the village.
Lee: “It would be safe to assume that everyone except for old men who can’t move their bodies here had sex with us. This whole village is a sex village.”
Lee came across a resident in the village. Then she claimed that he raped her with Pastor Heo.
Lee: “Hello. You know me, right? I am Heo’s wife. Do you still talk to Heo? I sued Heo for sexual abuse and sex trafficking.”
Resident: “Who is Mr. Heo?”
Lee: “You had sex with me.”
Resident: “This woman is saying something weird.”
Lee: “You raped me. You raped my son. Why do you think I sued everyone here?”
Junsu: “You raped me.”
The man looked dumbfounded and laughed at first. But after Junsu also joined the dialogue, he ended up calling the police.
Lee: “I know the policeman is also on your side! Call the policeman. He also had sex with me.”
Here the production team observed a strange scene. While Lee was talking to the resident, the camera caught something strange.
Lee: “Call your brother. Go to that side, and tell him that mom is okay.”
How could he call Junho in a closed room at a mental hospital? After 5 minutes of talking on the phone, Junsu came back to his mother.
Junsu: “Ah…Junho said we don’t have to bother him with all this and we should just sue them. Just sue. That’s what he said. He said that man is not a scary person.”
Was it really Junho who Junsu talked to? Under the circumstances, it seemed certain that he called someone else for advice.
There is another clue. The police said there is a person who is helping the family.
Police: “They just said she is a “grandma” who takes care of the children.”
They said there was a person called “grandma” when Junsu first gave statements about his sexual abuse experience.
Pastor Heo made a surprising claim about the grandma, whose surname is Kim.
Heo: “The wife I knew was not the kind of person who would make her kids say such things. It was Kim’s influence. She can do it because the kids are not her own kids.”
According to Heo, Kim is a shaman. He claimed that the shaman who his wife has been following for a decade is controlling his ex-wife and sons.
Heo: “When we checked our real estate documents during the divorce suit, it was worth 4.8 billion won in total. Kim is making them lie to take that money.”
What is the identity of shaman Kim?
In fact, Lee took the production team to Kim’s place before. It was the prayer center in the town she called “Sex Village”.
According to Lee, Heo used the praying center for sex trafficking. She claimed that Heo is lying about Kim because he is worried that his crimes will be revealed.
Lee: “Heo said we should pin the blame on the shaman if we’re caught. Just because she is a shaman, people would believe that she is behind something shameful. Kim lost her business and center. She was harmed a lot. I feel sorry for that. She already had enough trouble. She should not get involved in this mess. I am so sorry that I don’t contact her any more. My husband tried to kill the shaman. He made many plans. He tried to make her take bad drugs.”
Is Kim really a victim?
Lee clearly said there are only three of them for themselves. She said her husband, her own parents’ family and her husband’s parents’ family were all sexual offenders. She said in tears that most media outlets do not even report about her case because they’re blinded by power and money.
However, in September of last year when the case first surfaced, there was shaman Kim next to the three.
How did they first meet the shaman? The team visited Lee’s parents’ family.
Lee’s older sister: “According to her, orgies happened in this house and I was leading it, right? She is 16 years younger than me. I didn’t know she would do something like that to me.”
The family said Heo was mainly to be blamed for their divorce.
Lee’s older sister: “Heo was being violent habitually. So I wanted them to get divorced. I wished it more than 12 times a day. Heo was also good at begging my sister for forgiveness. He was begging for forgiveness more than 12 times a day.”
She also guessed how Lee might have fallen into the shaman’s trap.
Lee’s older sister: “Once my sister had a headache and vomited. She couldn’t eat. She went to a lot of different hospitals but they couldn’t find out why. Then I talked to shaman Kim who I knew back then. She told me about a way to cure my sister.”
In 2004, Lee suffered from an unknown sickness. She did a ritual as the shaman instructed and she recovered.
Lee’s older sister: “Surprisingly she got better. The next day, she began eating and she had no headache. She was lively. I was really, really surprised.”
She said Lee began to follow Kim from then onward. Shockingly, she also said Lee received an invocatory rite to be a shaman herself.
Another strange scene was captured.
After the production team left the room, Junsu stood up and closed the door. He checked the camera and his attitude changed as he seemed to think the camera was off.
Junsu: “To see if it is off”
Junho: “Don’t cut me off. Don’t say anything. It looks suspicious to that person. The camera films it all.”
Junsu: “They would only see me being like this.”
Junho: “Don’t make it suspicious. What if these people think we are lying?”
The kids were talking about whether the production team would believe them for a while. They noticed that the mic was still on and were taken aback.
Another questionable thing. Their attitude when they talked about their experiences of sexual abuse.
Production team: “How many times were you victimized?”
Junsu: “Many times, frequently. For several years between 2008 and 2013.
Then, Lee burst into laughter a few times.
The production team asked experts to examine the mother and sons’ statements- about 100 pages of petitions, YouTube videos and 13-hour-long videos.
1. First of all, they thought the statements about physical violence seemed to be true.
Sookmyung Women’s University’s social psychology professor Park Ji-seon: “The emotions from when the kids were beaten by their dad were highly convincing. Readers can almost feel it vividly.”
Crime psychologist professor Pyo Chang-won: “She said Heo acted so nicely and treated her well like a gentleman in front of other people but he didn’t love her. Parts like this are very convincing.”
2. However, all experts concluded that the parts about sexual abuse and sex trafficking are not convincing.
Professor Park Ji-seon: “This drawing doesn’t fit the writing. So what do we have to take? Either the writing or the drawing is not genuine. When they try to manipulate, they don’t manipulate a smiley.”
Professor Pyo Chang-won: “They were trying to describe what they might have seen from porn videos. However, they couldn’t describe what they felt at that time. I can confidently say there was no possibility of an orgy.”
What is the truth from them? What conspiracy is hidden? Who is shaman Kim? The second episode will air on August 2nd.
You can take another look at the documentary from the following article.
A synopsis of points from the Lee Jung-hee documentary program