Police continue their investigation of disgraced former national coach Cho Jae-beom on charges of sexual assault by meeting with the man himself.
On Wednesday, the southern Gyeonggi Police Agency said that a special investigation team will question former national short track speedskating coach Cho Jae-beom at a jail in Suwon on Friday. Cho is currently serving time for physically abusing four skaters from 2011 to 2015.
When asked about the impending session between authorities and the coach, his legal representative said restated the position that Cho “never had sexual contact with Shim” and that “we will have the same position” when they meet on Friday.
Notably, this was the first direct investigation of the coach regarding the claims of sexual assault from short track speed skater Shim Suk-hee. In claims that came to light early this month, the athletes alleged that he raped her several times from 2014 to early last year. Cho originally had a trial hearing scheduled on Jan. 14, but authorities have postponed it until the 23rd, due to the Shim’s additional charges.
Shim’s claims have lead to a flurry of activity. Not only have other athletes come forward to speak about sexual abuse, but police have also begun to investigate the allegations against Cho. Earlier, investigators seized his cell phone after they discovered that Cho has asked Shim to use a secure messaging app Telegram for communication and are conducting a digital forensics investigation.
Soon, police decided to expand the scope of their investigation of Cho’s electronic devices to include his tablet. Moreover, they are also planning to follow up with other athletes who trained under Cho on assault, intimidation, sexual violence, and unfair practices.
Following Shim’s claims and what has happened since then, the Gyeonggi Provincial Sports Council will hold a separate meeting on the issue of sexual violence enacted upon female athletes on Monday. It is reported that this meeting is a prelude to a larger investigation that will span the entirety of the province as they go over-coached, medical professionals, athletes, even students, and their interactions with a fine-toothed comb.
Additionally, according to reports, this will begin sometime in mid-February and will likely last months.
Image source – Korea Daily, OSEN News
Translated by O.C