Lee Jae Won, once a member of H.O.T (one of the very first K-Pop idol groups), is not a sex offender but, for the past decade, people have associated him with a particular sexual assault case.
In 2008, Lee Jae Won was sued and arrested for allegedly sexually assaulting a 19-year-old singer trainee whom he knew well. Tons of articles came pouring out about Lee Jae Won’s arrest.
Only three hours after the arrest, however, the 19-year-old dropped all charges against Lee Jae Won and he was released.
Lee Jae Won explained in an interview article that he did not assault the woman. He said, “She got really drunk and passed out so I checked her into a motel. I wanted to drop her off at home but I didn’t know where she lived. At the motel, she threw up. I asked the female motel owner to help her out of her vomit-soiled clothes.”
From there on, the 19-year-old misunderstood the situation and sued Lee Jae Won thinking that he had raped her while she was drunk and unaware.
The owner of the motel served as a witness, however, to help Lee Jae Won prove his innocence. She said, “I am the one who undressed the girl. Lee Jae Won left after he dropped the girl off at the motel. He did not rape her.”
The trainee dropped the charges and apologized to Lee Jae Won. She texted:
“I loved your music. It’s what got me to start training to become a singer. To see you fail because of this would be hell for me too… Please stay strong! You lost so much weight!!!”
This latter portion of the incident was not covered widely by the media. So people still believe the assault actually took place and that Lee Jae Won is a sex offender.
In fact, when Lee Jae Won’s name is searched, related keywords include sexual harassment and rape.
With the recent Infinite Challenge episode of H.O.T’s concert, online rumors are starting up again that Lee Jae Won took time off to reflect on the sexual assault. This is mostly because shortly after the incident, Lee Jae Won enlisted in the military without explaining much to the public.
When asked about his decision to leave things unexplained, he claimed, “I didn’t want the media to keep talking about it because it was really taking a toll on me mentally. It didn’t happen, but I wanted to stop discussing it so people could just forget.”
So there’s the truth as we know it. Lee Jae Won is not, and never was, a sex offender.