Soldier gets 10 months in Korean jail for adultery, breaking promise to wed
January 13, 2006
UIJEONGBU, South Korea — A married U.S. soldier accused of persuading his girlfriend to have sex in return for marriage was sentenced Wednesday to 10 months in South Korean prison.
Sgt. Jin-hong Han, 35, looked down and remained quiet when Judge Kim Byung-ju handed down the sentence in Uijeongbu District Court. Last month, Han admitted to adultery and breaching the promise of marriage, both crimes in South Korea.
Han has a week to decide whether to appeal his sentence, according to the judge.
Right after the sentencing, Kim ordered Han detained by South Korean authorities. But Han and his lawyer requested he be held by U.S. Forces Korea officials until a decision is made about whether to appeal.
On Wednesday afternoon, both South Korean and U.S. authorities were working to see if the United States could continue to detain Han based on the status of forces agreement between the two countries. The U.S. military also has begun its own investigation into the case.
During the sentencing, Judge Kim acknowledged that the crime of sexual intercourse under the pretense of marriage exists in South Korea but not America.
Still, the judge considered that Han grew up in South Korea, lied to his girlfriend about his marriage and his rank, and even hired a person to play his father when he met his girlfriend’s parents.
Han, who is a U.S. citizen, moved to America during high school, then joined the U.S. Army in 2000. He was stationed at Camp Red Cloud in 2004, according to his lawyer’s statements in court last month.
Han met his wife via an online dating service. A month after their marriage, he sought out another woman through the same Web site, according to his lawyer.
He began dating the second woman last fall, telling her he was a lieutenant colonel making $90,000 a year, Jung said. Their relationship grew to the point that they decided to introduce their parents to each other, the lawyer said. The meeting took place at the Ritz-Carlton hotel in Seoul, but to keep his marriage a secret, Han hired a man to act as his father, the lawyer said.
In the end, both women grew suspicious and discovered Han’s duplicity, according to the lawyer.
Kim did not order Han to pay any fines or settlement money to either woman.