Korean Court Sentences Moses Owen Brown, Daniel Tarr to Nine Years In prison for Rape – Latest Liberian News
MONROVIA – A court in South Korea has sentenced two Liberian Maritime officials, Moses Owen Brown and Daniel Tarr to nine years in prison each for raping a pair of middle school students.
In the ruling, the Busan District Court on Wednesday ruled that the rape of two teenage girls and their forced confinement by the two men during a visit to Korea last year constituted a serious crime, according to the Korea JoongAng Daily, the English edition of the South Korean national daily newspaper.
The court added that despite the severe trauma suffered by the victims, the defendants continue to deny their crimes while making excuses to avoid responsibility.
In addition to prison time, the court ordered the two Liberians to have their personal information publicly disclosed for seven years, including their names and photos, and that they be barred from jobs that involve children or teenagers.
Daniel Tarr, 54, and Moses Owen Brown, 37, were accused of raping two girls in their hotel room last September while visiting Busan to attend an event jointly organized by the Korean Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries and the International Maritime Organization.
Brown was Liberia’s permanent representative to the International Maritime Organization, while Tarr was the director of Liberia’s Department of Marine Environment Protection.
The two men reportedly enticed a 14 and 16-year-old who were passing Busan Station with food and alcohol to their hotel room.
They reportedly requested sexual intercourse using a mobile translation app but were rejected. The girls claimed that they were raped after they failed to run out of the room.
The court recounted that Brown and Tarr also locked themselves and the girls in the hotel room for 20 minutes when friends showed up and banged on the door at around 11 p.m.
The police arrived at the scene after a call from one the girls’ friends. They broke into the hotel room after hearing the girls’ screams, begging their captors not to beat them.
The two Liberians pleaded innocence, claiming that the girls told them they were in their 20s and that the sex was consensual. They argued that the girls were not held against their will, pointing to video footage showing that the girls were briefly outside the hotel room but did not call out for help.
The judge, however, rejected the arguments, noting the girls were only dressed in hotel gowns and slippers while most of their personal items remained in the room, the paper said.
The judge also said it was understandable that the girls did not call out for help at first since they were only teenagers and didn’t want their family and friends to know what they had gone through.
The judge added that the victims’ testimony was consistent and highly plausible.
The two defendants also argued that they locked their hotel rooms only because strangers were banging on their door. They claimed that the allegations were racist and requested diplomatic immunity, which was denied.
Reviewing option to appeal
Meanwhile, the Government of Liberia, through the Liberia Maritime Authority (LİMA), the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Justice, has instructed its legal representation in Korea, Pureum Law Office, to furnish it with the various appeal options available to a criminal defendant under Korean Laws.
Notwithstanding, by Korean law, any appeal from such a verdict has to be exercised no later than seven days following the rendition of the judgment.
K-news has gathered that the families of the two disgraced Liberian officials have since been informed of the Korean Court’s decision in this matter.
According to the Liberia Maritime Authority, the Government of Liberia intends to facilitate the visit to Busan, Korea, of at least one member of each family to ensure that contact between Browne and Tarr and their respective families is maintained in the aftermath of the sentence.
“The Government shall continue to remain engaged with the Government of the Republic of Korea through official diplomatic channels to explore all options pertaining to Messrs. Browne and Tarr,” LiMA said.