Prosecutors drop charges against Taiwanese man accused of sexually assaulting French exchange student
A 40-year-old man accused by a 17-year-old French girl of using his position of power and influence to entice her into a sex act, had charges against him dropped after prosecutors decided the relationship was probably consensual.
Local media reports say that a hearing was held by Hsinchu District Prosecutors yesterday, April 8. It appears from the reports that the alleged victim was not present at the hearing, and that evidence was presented from statements made to police, and the subsequent police investigation.
According to the police investigation, the 17 year old high school student, with “fair skin, and a nice figure,” came to Taiwan last year as an exchange student with the Rotary Youth Exchange program.
According to the student’s statements, Mr Zhao (趙), president of the Hsinchu chapter of Rotary Club International at the time, invited the 17-year-old high school student to lunch November 30, 2018.
However, after picking the girl up, Zhao unexpectedly drove her straight to a motel in Hsinchu City.
Taking her into a room, Zhao quickly undressed and urged the girl to do the same.
The girl complied. According to her testimony, she was in fear of Mr Zhao’s position of power and influence.
According to her statements to police, she said not a word, and neither refused, nor complied verbally.
She was a little scared.
The high school student stated that she had sex with Mr Zhao because she feared he had the power to send her back to France.
No explanations were provided as why the girl would fear being repatriated to her own country.
However, the accused stated in his defense that he had no power to make such a decision. If an exchange student engages in bad behavior such as drinking alcohol, or taking drugs, it is up to the deputy chairman and director of the Youth Exchange Committee to make the decision to repatriate the student.
Zhao said that his role was just to take the students to PE class once per week, and to liaise between the host families and Youth Exchange committee. He didn’t have the power to repatriate people, and didn’t threaten to send her back to France.
The prosecution also referred to the statements of a classmate of the exchange student. The classmate said that the girl knew that Mr Zhao was married, When she informed her classmate that she had sexual relations with Zhao, she seemed “a little embarrassed, a little shy, but afterwards, a little happy.”
“Finally, she was a little confused, and didn’t know what to do.”
The classmate urged the girl to report the incident to the chairman of the Youth Exchange Committee, but the girl didn’t want to. “Then suddenly one day, she said that she would go to the committee to report the matter.
The French teen also reported the incident to police.
The Prosecutor decided that if the exchange student thought that having sex with Mr Zhao would prevent her from being repatriated, it constituted a problem with her subjective cognition, and that there was no evidence that Mr Zhao had used his position to coerce the girl into a sexual relationship.
Furthermore, the prosecution decided that the testimony of the classmate shows that there existed feelings between the girl and Mr Zhao, and therefore quite probable that the relationship was consensual.
Sources: Liberty Times Network, Apple Daily, ET Today.
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