Ex-speed skating coach wins lawsuit against athletic college over firing

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SEOUL, May 12 (Yonhap) — A former national speed skating coach won a lawsuit on Thursday against a university’s decision to fire him for his alleged connection to several sexual assault cases, including one involving the medalist. Olympic gold medalist Shim Suk-hee.

The Seoul Administrative Court ruled partly in favor of Jun Myung-kyu, former vice president of the Korea Skating Union (KSU) and former professor at the Korea National Sports University, finding that the dismissal was ” far too heavy”, a sentence handed down in the face of public fury, rather than due process.

The court ordered the university to rescind the dismissal and reduce the sentence it had imposed on June 2.

“It is difficult to recognize the grounds for the disciplinary action, and even if they are recognized, the dismissal is excessive given that the decision took too strongly into account the resentment of the national public against him because of a coverage unfiltered media,” the court said.

The court also noted that the claimant’s public achievement and contribution should have been considered.

Jun was questioned by the Ministry of Culture and relevant sports authorities in 2018 over allegations he helped cover up sexual abuse by skating coaches and threatened athletes not to report or publicize the cases.

The allegations came amid an investigation into the sexual assault case of Shim, who claimed her coach, Cho Jae-beom, physically assaulted her and other skaters. Cho was later found guilty and sentenced to 10 months in prison.

Jun denied the allegations and said he had no knowledge of what happened.

After calls from the culture and education ministries for heavy disciplinary action against Jun, Korea National Sports University decided to fire him in August 2019.

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