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South Korean Court Orders Parents to Pay Compensation in Place of Their Minor

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A recent court ruling has determined that if the perpetrator of illegal filming in the bathroom is a minor, the parents must also pay compensation to the victim.

Recently, Judge Kim Dong Seok of the Suwon District Court Civil Affairs 8 Single Bench ruled in favor of the plaintiff, who was a sixth-grader at that time, and her parents, in a damages lawsuit filed against the defendant, who was a middle schooler, and his parents.

The court ordered the defendant and his parents to pay the plaintiff approximately $7,400 in damages and medical expenses and an additional $740 to the plaintiff’s legal guardian.

In October 2022, the defendant filmed the plaintiff using the restroom in a building in Yeongtong District, Suwon, Gyeonggi Province, by holding his cell phone over the partition.

At the time, the investigative agency referred to this defendant’s case as a juvenile protection case under charges of violating the Special Act on the Punishment of Sexual Violence Crimes, among others.

Afterward, the plaintiff’s side filed a lawsuit against the defendant for $22,000 in damages for emotional distress and mental therapy counseling. The court ruled that both the defendant and his parents were liable for the plaintiff’s damages.

The court said of the defendant, “He committed an illegal act by taking photos that could cause sexual humiliation against the plaintiff’s will, and it is determined that he had the intelligence to discern the responsibility of his actions at the time.”

Regarding the defendant’s parents, the court explained, “Despite having a duty to supervise and protect their child through general and daily guidance and advice to prevent him from taking photos that could cause sexual humiliation against someone’s will, they neglected this duty,” thus holding them accountable for damages.

According to Article 750 (Content of Illegal Act) and Article 755 (Liability of Supervisor of Incompetent Person) of the Civil Act, guardians supervising minors can be held responsible for damages.

However, a significant causal relationship must be proven that the minor caused damages due to the supervisor’s neglect of duty.

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