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Sexual abuse of disabled on the rise
SEOUL, Sept. 30 (Yonhap) -- South Korea saw sexual crimes against disabled people increase in the past four years, a report said Friday, amid rising public outcry triggered by a hit movie based on the real-life story of school officials molesting deaf students.

   Reported cases of sexual crimes against mentally or physically disabled people numbered 320 for 2010, rising from 293 in 2009 and 228 in 2008, the National Police Agency said in the report submitted to Park Dae-hae, a lawmaker at the ruling Grand National Party, during a regular parliamentary audit. The number of cases totaled 199 in 2007, the report showed.

   The tally shows the number of such crimes has gained ground each year from 2008-10. The increase during the cited three-year period stood at 61 percent, the report also showed.

   For the first eight months of this year, the figure reached 385 cases, according to the report, signaling a sharp gain for the whole of 2011 on-year.

   Police arrested 1,347 offenders out of 1,425 total cases tallied since 2007, it showed.

   "By law, the statute of limitations on sex crimes committed against the disabled is only 10 years," the lawmaker said. "We need to revise the law to increase the statute of limitations for the crimes."

   The report came as the local box-office hit "Dogani," or "The Crucible" in English, drew heavy criticism of a local school system's lenient punishment of school officials suspected of sexually assaulting hearing-impaired students. The principal and five other school officials and teachers at Inhwa School, a special-education institution in the city of Gwangju, 330 kilometers southwest of Seoul, were under suspicion. But only two of them were convicted for repeated rapes of eight young students.

   pbr@yna.co.kr
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