Two K-pop singers were sentenced to prison after a South Korean court found them guilty on charges that they sexually assaulted women too drunk to give consent and then shared secretly filmed videos of those rapes with friends in a private online chat.
Jung Joon-young and Choi Jong-hoon, both 30 years old, were sentenced to six- and five-year prison terms, respectively, the Yonhap News Agency reported Friday.
“The accused perpetrated sexual crimes against multiple women, degrading women and treating them as mere tools of sexual pleasure,” Judge Kang Seong-soo said in his verdict. “It’s hard to fathom the pain the victims must have suffered.”
Jung, who was sentenced to an extra year for filming and then distributing video of the assaults, and Choi, a former member of the popular K-pop act FT Island, were also ordered to undergo 80 hours of sex offender treatment.
During the trial, both singers argued that the 2015 and 2016 incidents were consensual, the New York Times reports. However, the court ruled that the women were drunk and unable to resist after hearing testimonies from some of the victims involved.
“Jung argued that his sexual act was done with mutual agreement, while Choi flatly denied having sex with the victims. But Jung confessed he had sex (with the women) together with Choi, and his confession was also proved by their KakaoTalk chats. In this sense, it can be recognized that they jointly raped drunk women,” the court said.
Two other people were also sentenced to prison time for taking part in the assaults with Jung and Choi.
The prison sentences are the latest scandal to rock the world of K-pop in recent months: In June, Yang Hyun-suk, the co-founder and head of the giant K-pop label, agency and production company, YG Entertainment, resigned amid a series of scandals that included allegations he provided prostitutes to potential investors and covered up some of his label’s artists’ misdeeds.