Two disgraced K-pop stars have been sentenced to prison for raping women who were too drunk to consent to sex, according to the New York Times.
Jung Joon-young, who was also found guilty of recording videos of the assaults and sharing them with friends online, received a six-year prison sentence. His friend and fellow K-pop musician Choi Jong-hoon was sentenced to five years behind bars.
The convictions are the first to stem from the investigation surrounding what has been dubbed the Burning Sun scandal. In January 2019, South Korean police began investigating a prominent nightclub in Gangnam called the Burning Sun following allegations of an assault a male clubgoer. The investigation uncovered allegations of prostitution, drug trafficking, and police corruption, and implicated upwards of 10 individuals, including several prominent figures in the K-pop industry.
As part of their investigation, police obtained correspondence between Jung, Choi, and other members of a private chat room. There, Jung shared videos and photos of himself having sex with more than 10 women without their knowledge or consent. Messages in the group chat also provided evidence of a 2016 gang rape involving Jung and Choi, as well as Choi’s past drunk driving charge, in which he allegedly received help from police to avoid it from being publicized.
Jung subsequently pleaded guilty to the dissemination of video of illegally captured sexually explicit videos, and also acknowledged his participation in the gang rape, though he maintained it was a consensual act. Choi denied all charges brought before him.
At their sentencing, the judge said “the defendants treated the women as simple instruments of sexual pleasure”, “committing crimes of gang rape and sexual assault” and “sharing their acts in a chatroom with acquaintances”, and said the “damage to the victims could not be recovered.” In addition to their respective prison sentences, Jung and Choi must complete 80 hours of sexual assault treatment.
Further investigations into other K-pop figures, including Big Bang member Seungri, who served as a creative director and shareholder of the Burning Sun and who is accused of providing prostitutes and drugs to patrons of the club, are ongoing.