A famed poet and middle school teacher is facing charges after being questioned by police for inappropriate contact with a female middle school student in Daegu. The police charge that the teacher and acclaimed poet, Seo Jung-yoon, allegedly hugged and kissed a 15-year-old female student in an empty classroom.
According to the Joongang Ilbo, he admitted his guilt in the incident, but maintained that hugging her was intended to encourage the girl and that the mild kissing was part of his effort to make the situation less awkward. He also testified that the incident was not premeditated, and that he was only trying to discuss high school admissions with her.
The Daegu Education Office requested that Seo be terminated, but the middle school decided to discipline him internally though he was eventually relieved of his duties on Monday after he handed in his resignation. He faces further questioning on the incident by education authorities next Thursday while the police investigation is still ongoing.
Police added that they have had trouble securing testimony from the the middle school girl involved in the incident.
The victim and her family are reluctant to give additional testimony because they are afraid it will keep reminding her of the incident and stigmatize her, said Bae Gi-myeong, an officer in charge of the case. However, a revised law allows police to go ahead with the investigation and punish the offender even if the victim is not cooperative during the investigation.
Seo’s most noted for selling a collection of poems in 1987, amassing sales of over three million copies and winning the Kumbok Arts Award from the Kumbok Cultural Foundation last year.