Back in February 2020, the South Korean Blue House’s online “National Petitions” page saw a Korean mother’s shocking cry for help, by the title of “My Son Was Sexually Harassed For 3 Years By The Principal Of The Child Care Center He Attended 6 Years”.
The mother “A” claimed in the petition, “I’ve been sending my 7-year-old son “B” to a 24-hour child care center in Gangbuk-gu, Seoul for the past 6 years since he was 25 months old.” She wrote, “I’ve always dropped B off around 7:30AM — which is about 5 minutes after the male principal “J” of the child care center arrives at the facility around 7:25AM.” Having had been enrolled at the child care center for years, A trusted J to take good care of B.
Unfortunately, one Saturday afternoon in January of 2019, A heard some of the most shocking words come from B’s mouth. As A and B came home from the child care center, B confided in his mom with the gravest secret of his short lifetime. According to A, B said, “Mr. J ate my gochu (a child’s word for penis) and he made me eat his too.”
Every time you dropped me off early, Mr. J said to follow him to the bathroom. He locked me in the bathroom and licked all over my body. He also made me lick his gochu.
Completely shocked by the sudden confession, A asked B why he hadn’t said anything before. B explained to his mom that he was too scared — but his detailed account that followed left A speechless.
Mr. J said it’s a secret between us and I can’t tell mom or the teachers or anyone else. He said if I broke the promise, he is going to kill me. He also hit me, pinched me, bent my arms and legs, pulled my hair, and punched my head 7 times.
When A confronted J about B’s confession, J “pretended like he didn’t know anything.” And with the bathroom not being covered by the center’s surveillance cameras, she had no solid enough evidence to take J to court.
The police said, ‘If there’s any footage of B and J going into the bathroom or leaving together, it could help with making the case. But since there is nothing on camera, it would be impossible.’ So I had no choice.
Two days later, A pulled B out of the child care center — and according to her, they have been living in misery since. She claimed that the petition went up so that she can “bring justice to J and have him pay for his sins.” She commented, “My son said he would like to see Mr. J get into trouble for what he did. I also think J needs to face the law.” The petition soon accumulated over 270K signatures, with netizens appalled at J’s “disgusting predatory behavior”. While it seemed, with A and B’s story and petition gone viral, that J would be punished…
… then came the plot twist. When a TV program, True Story, dug deep into this disturbing child molestation case, a whole new side to the story became unveiled. The program was able to hear some shocking insight from B’s biological father “C”:
A is nice to B when B is being good. But out of the blue, she’ll become violent. I have no idea what sets her off. But she’ll become physically aggressive… I tried to get custody of B when we split up. I couldn’t, because I lost the divorce lawsuit.
C even revealed that A and B come with a history of having been separated before. C commented, “I had to call the police on her before, for being abusive to B. I came home from work one day and found red, open wounds on B’s back. It seemed like A had whipped him with a wooden stick. So the police got involved. She was sentenced to be isolated from B for 4 months.”
The program also caught on camera, moments of A being hostile toward B throughout the day. At one point, A cursed at B, “You stupid f*ck. Why can’t you even do this correctly? Get it done right!” A’s neighbors also commented, “Something is very wrong about the way this mother treats her child.”
True Story then sat down with the principal J to hear things from his point of view. J pled that he is innocent; and that the entire “sexual harassment” scenario came from A’s head. In an actual audio recording that came from the day A confronted J, which J shared with the program, A sounded 100% convinced — while J sounded 100% confused.
A: You know, I’ve known this for a while. Why do you go around like a f*cking pervert, touching my child’s private parts?
J: What are you talking about?
A: Don’t you lie to me. How dare you look down on us like that! Tell me, why did you molest my son?
J: Who molested your son?
A: You did. And don’t you ever swear at my son again.
J: I never swear at your son.
A: You know what I told my son? I told him if someone tries to touch him again, that I’ll come stab them in their necks. Do you hear me?
With all this new information, True Story asked experts to analyze what may be happening with A, B, and J. A psychiatrist, who looked over B’s confession, became extremely concerned with the level of anxiety being shown in his body language.
Look here. When he has to start talking about things that his mom wants him to talk about, his mood shifts. He shows a tic in his eye and he becomes very antsy. When he feels cornered, like there is no way out of not talking about the ‘harassment’, he tears up. That should tell us a lot about the pure amount of pressure he feels about making certain statements about J.
— Psychology Professor Kim Tae Kyung
Another expert’s statement validity analysis also revealed that B “repeats certain phrases in the same intonation over and over again”, hinting that his “statement” about J has actually been rehearsed and memorized.
The way this child responds to a certain question triggers him to respond like a recording. This trait shows strongly when a child has been asked to memorize certain things, like a script… It is highly unlikely that he is speaking from his experience. Rather, he seems to be under a lot of influence of his mother.
— Statement Validity Expert Kim Mi Young
In fact, True Story caught on camera the very moment when A tried to convince B to share the details about the sexual harassment in a specific way. At one point, she ended up threatening B, insisting, “You have to say exactly what you told me, okay? That’s the only way we’ll be happy together. What did I say about liars? I hate them, right? I can’t live with a liar.”
Why aren’t you talking? What’s wrong with you today? Do you think I’m joking with you? Stop crying and tell them about what happened the same way you’ve told me.
Child experts agreed that A is, intentionally or not, “abusing B emotionally” by forcing him into these uncomfortable conversations.
This is a legitimate threat to the child. This also invalidates the child’s confession entirely. We would also be able to say that A is clearly abusing B emotionally.
— Psychology Professor Kim Tae Kyung
Shortly after the interviews in production of the program’s episode, the Gangbuk-gu police reached out and shared that A and B have been separated, as A had been charged with child abuse. The authorities believed, “To ensure the well being of the child, B, he had to be separated from his abusive mother.” The police added that they will be investigating A, as soon as B’s safety has been secured and he is settled.
Netizens grew furious at A for ruining not only B’s life, but also J’s — and wished to see A face the law.