Some new details about this scandal emerged, which subtly changed the complexion of this case.
First, the sexual assault was a bit more extensive than previously believed. Recall that previously, the story was: (1) Yoon grabbed the buttocks of the intern, then; (2) later, Yoon summoned the intern to the room, and answered the door naked. Now, according to multiple Blue House officials, Yoon was not simply in the room in his birthday suit, but was “pacing around.” And when the frightened intern was about to leave, Yoon demanded sex and grabbed her buttocks one more time.
This is a fairly significant change, because a sexual assault in an enclosed hotel room–as opposed to a bar from which one can leave at any time–can easily bump the charges against Yoon from misdemeanor to felony. If the D.C. prosecutors decide to indict Yoon as a felon, Yoon becomes a subject of extradition. Although Korea can always refuse to extradite its own citizen to U.S. on a discretionary basis (as can the U.S. to Korea,) it is pretty hard to imagine Korea actually exercising that veto.
Second, immediately after the intern left the hotel room, she went to her own hotel room, shared by an employee of Korea Culture DC, an auxiliary to Korean Embassy. Soon, the head of the KCDC visited their room, and spoke with the intern for about 10 minutes. At this interview, the intern told the KCDC official what happened–i.e. the harassment at the bar, assault at the hotel room, etc. After the discussion, the KCDC official reported the incident to the Blue House staff. Later, the KCDC official visited the the intern’s room again, this time with a “Blue House official.” At this point, the intern and the KCDC employee locked the door, refused to see them, and eventually called the police.
There is no further detail on what happened in the second visit that caused the intern to lock the door and call the police. A fair inference is that the KCDC and the Blue House officials attempted to cover up the incident, which enraged the intern. There is also suspicion that Yoon Chang-joong himself was at the intern’s door at the second visit, which would explain the reaction.
Third, it appears pretty clear that the Blue House staff spirited Yoon away, did not report to the president, and lied to the press initially. Initially, the Blue House staff claimed that Yoon ran away without telling them. That turned out to be false. Then the Blue House staff claimed that they gave Yoon a choice, and Yoon chose to return to Korea. That is also likely false. New report says that Lee Nam-ki, the chief of public relations, told Yoon to go to Lee’s hotel room as soon as Lee learned the incident. Further, it was the KCDC staff that reserved the flight ticket, and arranged the car for Yoon to head to the Dulles airport.
That the Blue House may have impeded an active investigation is not news. But the fact that this is their third version of the story does not help their credibility. This entire event could have been ushered into conclusion in three days. Instead, the Blue House is repeatedly shooting itself in the foot, turning this into an unmitigated disaster.