September 4th, 2012
11:47 AM ET

South Korea looks to expand chemical castration law, state-run media report

South Korea is considering the expansion of  its chemical castration law to those who have sexually assaulted victims as old as 19, according to the country's state-run news agency.

It would expand the reach of a recently passed law that focused on victims 16 and under.

"Justice Minister Kwon Jae-jin reported the measures to President Lee Myung-bak during a Cabinet meeting amid growing calls for tougher punishment for sex offenders and stronger preventive measures following last week's shocking kidnapping and rape of a seven-year-old girl," Yonhap reported.

Lee said he would consider many measures to try to combat the brutal sex assaults that have occurred in the country, calling the most recent attack "a crime that could only have been perpetrated by a man with the mind of a beast."

South Korea first used chemical castration in May on a sex offender who had been convicted of four counts of rape or attempted rape on young girls since the 1980s, according to the Ministry of Justice.

The term "chemical castration" is a misnomer because the practice involves medication rather than the surgical removal of sex organs. Its effectiveness stops when treatment is discontinued.

The change in law, if passed, is one of several measures proposed to fight sexual assault. The government is considering disclosing on a government website the home addresses of those who have sexually assaulted minors. Presently, the names are made public only at local levels. The government is also looking at retroactively applying an electronic monitoring law to those who were convicted before the 2010 law which requires sex offenders to be monitored, according to Yonhap.

The process of chemical castration has been used in various forms, either forcibly as a sentence or as a way for offenders to reduce their jail time in several countries including Argentina, Australia, Estonia, Israel, Moldova, New Zealand, Poland and Russia.

If the new measure is enacted, it would be the first to allow forcible chemical castration for those who have sexually assaulted someone as old as 19. Most of the countries using the process impose the punishment in cases with younger victims.

A version of chemical castration is also on the books in at least nine U.S. states, including California, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Louisiana, Montana, Oregon, Texas and Wisconsin.

The process is controversial. Supporters say it can help curb an offender's urges, likely reducing his or her likelihood of committing a similar crime. But studies have shown that the process may not work for everyone and could have  side effects. Some critics have said it also poses constitutional issues, at least in the U.S.

One paper, titled "Incapacitation through Maiming: Chemical Castration, the Eighth Amendment, and the Denial of Human Dignity," written by University of Florida law professor John F. Stinneford, argues that in addition to those concerns, the process may be more of a mental deterrent than it is a concrete, physical one.

"The very purpose of chemical castration is to exert control over the mind of the offender by rendering it incapable of experiencing sexual desire. The procedure is sometimes justified on the ground that some sex offenders are pedophiles who experience deviant (and often unwanted) sexual desire for children, and that for this group of offenders, chemical castration is a beneficial form of medical treatment," the paper says. "This argument fails, however, because the vast majority of sex offenders covered by the chemical castration laws do not have any sexual disorder, much less pedophilia. Many of these offenders may be incorrigibly bad, dangerous or antisocial people, but they do not suffer from a sexual sickness.

"Thus, subjecting them to chemical castration is not even arguably medically appropriate. Rather, it merely replaces the stone walls and iron bars of a traditional prison (where many sex offenders doubtless belong) with a less expensive but more degrading prison for the mind."

soundoff (68 Responses)
  1. banasy©

    Somebody ra pes my 7-year-old girl, they're going to get cast rated, and government sanctioned or not.
    Not chemically, either.

    September 4, 2012 at 12:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • bobpit

      Now i understand why there is only a handfull of catholic churches in Korea..

      September 4, 2012 at 1:21 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Portland tony

    My feelings! Anyone convicted of multiple child molestation, including rayp, should be summarily shot...but since that's gonna happen at least in the judicial system, I'll settle for castration until we as a society have developed a fool proof way way to reprogram this abhorrent behavior. And no I'm not talking about teenagers in love.

    September 4, 2012 at 12:32 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Mr. Hand

    In other news, Julian Assange just cancelled his planned vacation to Korea.

    September 4, 2012 at 12:41 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Laura

    Better offenders should be degraded than more innocent children.

    September 4, 2012 at 12:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tesla

      Yes! These guys give up their stupid rights when they ra pe kids! Heck with them!

      September 4, 2012 at 12:47 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Mary

    Raypists have no bounderies. Therefore; we must set those boundies squarely on death !

    September 4, 2012 at 12:51 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Jimh77

    My question is why are these animals still B reath ing? Someone ra pe s my daughter, they will cease to ex ist. End of story.

    September 4, 2012 at 1:01 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Jim

    Good for the guilty, bad for the innocent.

    September 4, 2012 at 1:02 pm | Report abuse |
  8. RFalls

    For anyone wondering about the 19 year age being mentioned, that would be 18 in the western world. And yes many are never found again, and not many questions are asked about their whereabouts; but all of the relatives are smiling when asked .

    September 4, 2012 at 1:03 pm | Report abuse |
  9. André Kruger

    Much cheaper, much more efficient to get a livestock farmer to do it properly.

    September 4, 2012 at 1:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jack

      I don't thinkmany people would line up for that job. I would do it. Give me a rusty blade and let me loose.

      September 4, 2012 at 2:11 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Steve Johnson

    About time someone gets tough on crime, something the USA should do. Thieves lose a hand, murderers lose their life, rapists lose their manlyhood. All first time offenders and no prison time. others would think twice.

    September 4, 2012 at 1:40 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Mike`

    What do they do for molestors that are female?

    September 4, 2012 at 2:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • Portland tony

      Smile ..... 🙂 Then inject them with tons of testosterone!

      September 4, 2012 at 2:07 pm | Report abuse |
  12. vinnieG

    Way To Go S. Korea, May Be America Can lLarn From You.

    September 4, 2012 at 2:07 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Jack

    I hate the GOTP also, but Palin is irelevant, and it's time to come up with a new handle. Otherwise, good post.

    September 4, 2012 at 2:14 pm | Report abuse |
  14. BOMBO ©

    There is a cheaper, permanent form of chemical castration available. Topical application of hot sulphuric acid.

    September 4, 2012 at 2:23 pm | Report abuse |
  15. BOMBO ©

    All kidding aside, r4pe is a violent crime, not a s3xual act. I would be more in favour of a pharmaceutical that dulls the perp's violent tendencies.

    September 4, 2012 at 2:26 pm | Report abuse |
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