South Korea’s presidential office has apologized after official Yoon Chang-jung was sacked during a US visit over “shameful” sexual harassment allegations.
Yoon Chang-jung, who was a spokesman for President Park Geun-hye, was alleged to have groped a Korean-American intern in a Washington hotel.
The incident overshadowed President Park Geun-hye’s first visit to the US last week.
Her former spokesman denies sexually harassing the intern, putting it down to “cultural differences”.
President Park Geune-hye’s chief-of-staff, Huh Tae-yeol, told reporters on Sunday that the case was “unconditionally wrong” and “unacceptable” and he apologized to the victim, her family and all South Koreans.
The unnamed intern, in her early 20s, was said to have been employed by South Korea’s embassy specifically for President Park Geune-hye’s four-day trip. The incident was said to have taken place in a hotel bar not far from the embassy.
A police report obtained by the Washington Post and Yonhap news agency said a 56-year-old man had “grabbed her buttocks without permission”.
Yoon Chang-jung, 56, told a televised news conference on Saturday that “if I have hurt her, I ask for her understanding and offer an apology”.
The former spokesman, an ex-newspaper columnist, also apologized for the harm he had caused “to the accomplishments of the successful US visit”.
During the trip, President Park Geune-hye’s first foreign visit since taking office in February, she held a summit with President Barack Obama.
Barack Obama said that they both agreed on the need to “maintain a strong deterrent” towards North Korea and were not going to reward “provocative behavior”.