Updated June 25, 2020
Moon was Found Guilty and Started a Two Year Jail Sentence in Seoul in September 1955. Money Bought Him an Acquittal.
동아일보 Dong-A Ilbo (East Asia Daily News) September 21, 1955
어제첫公判 統一教會 事件 ( 공판통일교회사건 )
Yesterday the first trial was held in the ‘Unification Church incident’
On September 20, ‘Unification Church’ leader Moon Sun Myung (real name, Moon Yong Myung), aged 36, appeared for the first day of his trial in Seoul District Court No. 4. At the 10:30a.m. hearing the presiding judge was Yoon Hak-no ( 尹學老 ) and the prosecutor was Kang Seo-yong ( 姜瑞龍 ) who was handling the prosecution of Moon Sun Myung. [The afternoon hearing was at 2:30p.m.] On this day the court was jam-packed with many women who seemed to be ‘Unification Church’ believers.
Defendant Moon, who has been much talked about concerning multiple alleged adulteries, on the day only stood as a defendant for charges of Military Service Act violations. This is because there were no complaints from the alleged victims. Along with him, other defendants from the same church stood trial as well: Kim Won-pil (28, violated the Military Service Act, and had raised his age by six years), Eu Hyo-won (42, failed to report to military record), Eu Hyo-min (36, same charge as above), and Eu Hyo-yeong (35, same charge as above).
As soon as the court session began the prosecution read the list of indictments and then the investigation into the facts proceeded. Defendant Moon did admit that he had raised his age. The legal profession still had two arguments about whether raising one’s age, even when the person subject to the draft was over 32 or 33 years old, was a violation of the Military Service Act. Nevertheless, Prosecutor Kang, in the bill of indictment, pointed out that defendant Moon “had raised his age to avoid the draft (military service) in accordance with the Christian doctrine against injuring others or taking life”.
동아일보 Dong-A Ilbo newspaper, September 22, 1955
Religious Leader Moon given two year sentence in the ‘Unification Church incident’ prosecution
文敎主 (문교주) 에二年 (이년) 統一敎會事件求刑 (통일교회사건구형)
작보 = 二 (이) 십일 개정된 『통일교회사건』제一 (일) 회공판에서 사실심리에이어 관여 姜瑞龍 (강서용) 검사는피고들에게 각각다음과같이 체형구형을하였다
▲ 文鮮明 (문선명) (교주) = 懲役二年 (징역이년)
▲ 劉孝元 (유효원) = 懲役二年 (징역이년)
▲ 金元弼 (김원필) 劉孝敏 (유효민) 劉孝永 (유효영)
= 各各懲役一年六月 (각각징역일년륙월)
Following earlier report: The first trial regarding the ‘Unification Church incident’ started on the 20th [September 1955]. After investigating the facts, prosecutor Kang Seo-yong ( 姜瑞龍 ), recommended the following terms for the defendants:
▲ Moon Sun Myung (religious leader) = Imprisonment for two years
▲ Eu Hyo-won = Imprisonment for two years
▲ Kim Won-pil, Eu Hyo-min, Eu Hyo-yeong
= Each person imprisonment for one year and six months
Robert W. Roland
He testified to the US Fraser Committee investigation of Sun Myung Moon and his organization in 1978. He commented on the Ewha scandal:
“Moon was eventually charged and jailed but was ultimately released when the young girls, in their misplaced shame, refused to testify publicly. …”
Apparently a large number of young women claimed their right to remain silent in court.
A US FBI report on Sun Myung Moon contained a letter from the Church of the Nazarene in Seoul. It gives an interesting summary of the official and the unofficial theology of the Unification Church. Here is the unofficial part of Moon’s theology:
“The letter additionally states that the group also secretly observes such other beliefs and practices as the following:
1) Founder Moon is the Second Advent Jesus.
2) A believer receives a spiritual body by participating in a ceremony known as blood cleansing [pikareum = blood exchange, pi = blood] which is for women to have sexual intercourse with Moon and for men to have intercourse with such a woman. This idea of blood cleansing comes from the teaching that Eve committed immorality with the Serpent and she passes on to all of us serpent blood.
3) Secretly observed doctrines are Holy covenant and are of more value than the Bible.
4) Members who have experienced blood cleansing can produce sinless generation [children].
5) Founder Moon is sinless.”
Other US diplomatic cables from Seoul reported, “the church interprets the Bible in sexual terms and maintains that religious experience is interrelated with sex. MUN Son-myong (sic), leader of the church, was once arrested because of the sexual practices of the organization.” (Chicago Tribune, Monday, March 27, 1978)
Moon was arrested in Seoul on July 4, 1955, following an investigation by the 文教部 Ministry of Culture and Education.
Kyonghyang-shinmun, July 5, 1955
“Ministry of Culture and Education recognizes the Unification Church as a sagyo (wicked religion) while the Unification Church denies it.”
Seoul-shinmun, July 6, 1955
Moon “Misleading women into fornication through eloquence”.
Dong-A Ilbo, July 6, 1955
“According to the investigative reports, he did not follow military conscription procedure and also overstated his age at 43 rather than 36. [The reports said] it was found that he illegally imprisoned [a 22-year-old female Yonsei University student] for three days and forced her to adopt the new religion.”
Seoul-shinmun, July 7, 1955
“Four married women were violated” by Moon or Unificationists.
Dong-A Ilbo, July 14, 1955
“Evidence of some seven incidents of adultery with female adherents has come to light” but that prosecution could not proceed unless husbands filed complaints. Five followers of Moon were also reported to have been arrested. (Quoted by Robert Boettcher in “Gifts of Deceit” on page 353.)
Segae newspaper, March 18, 1957, May 13, 1957 and May 20, 1957
Articles alleged Moon to have had ‘orgies’ with 70 female students.
▲ This is the church headquarters in 1955, known as the ‘House of Three Doors’ in Bukhak-dong, Seoul. Moon had a private room in the house next door. That is where Eu Shin-hee and many other women were ‘restored’ by Moon. Eu Hyo-won is seen standing with a cane.
Here is one testimony from a professor who was familiar with Moon’s personal room.
Choi Syn-deok 崔信德 (1921-2016) joined in 1954. Later she was Professor of Sociology at Ewha Womans University in Seoul. She wrote an article about the UC in Transactions of the Royal Asiatic Society, Korea Branch No. 43 (1967) The introduction stated: “She was once an active member of the Tong-il Church [ = Unification Church ] and was closely associated with Mun Son-myong.”
“KOREA’S TONG-IL MOVEMENT”
“I present here a brief picture of the Tong-il Church from the sociological point of view. … Many reports have been made about these two religious bodies. [The other was Elder Park Tae-seon’s “Olive-Tree” Church.] There is, however, no one who really knows about their leaders, organizations, beliefs and practices. We have seen many families which have been destroyed, leaving unhappy husbands, sorrowful parents and miserable children because of these new religious movements. The purpose of this research is to help in the solution of these problems of disorganization of homes, and to make a scientific study about these groups, without emotional or biased opinions.
… “Before Moon’s marriage [in 1960], believers, male as well as female, who longed to meet him and talk with him could easily arrange to be with him in the living room of a home attached to the church, staying until very late. They used to talk, sing and laugh without realizing how fast the night went, until after one or two o’clock in the morning. They called this their period of direct association with the master. Its purpose was to educate and train the believers, that is, to “restore” them.” … “In July, 1955, several senior members and four leaders as well as Mr. Moon were imprisoned under an accusation of injuring public morals. (This matter was reported in papers and journals.)”
Robert B. Boettcher and Gordon L. Freedman, “Gifts of Deceit”
“Rumors reached the American Embassy that Moon was a ritual womanizer. Reportedly, young girls underwent sexual initiation into his cult; he would thus purge them of the Satanic spirits that inhabited Eve and lead them to the Divine Principle. He was jailed for three months in 1955 by South Korean authorities on charges reported by newspapers and government agencies as draft evasion, forgery, “pseudo-religion,” and false imprisonment of a university coed compelled to adopt his religion.”
“A third jailing in 1955 reportedly was for ‘causing social disorder’ and having bad morals stemming from ritual sex with women in his church.” (published 1975 or earlier)
Newsweek June 14, 1976
“In 1948, Moon was arrested in North Korea for what his followers say were his religious and anti-Communist activities; his opponents maintain he was jailed for practicing ritual sex. … Seven years later, after he had fled south during the Korean War and founded his Uniﬁcation Church, Moon once again ran afoul of the authorities. According to the Rev. John E.W. Kim, a Presbyterian pastor whose church was near Moon’s church in Busan at the time, ‘Part of Moon’s theology was that women converts could only be purified by sleeping with him.’”
Professor James Huntley Grayson, PhD, “Korea: A Religious History” (New York: Routledge Curzon, 1989, revised 2002)
“In July 1955, Mun was imprisoned for gross immorality, but was subsequently released.” (page 210) “As one of the most important functions of the Lord of the Second Advent is the physical restoration of mankind, Mun selects suitable marital partners for the faithful and conducts sacred ceremonies of marriage in large groups. It should be noted with regard to the purging of physical sin that Mun has been accused of acts of gross immorality which are denied by church authorities.” (page 211)
Pak Chung-hwa: “The female member [Choi Soon-shil] was imprisoned on [July] 18th.” … “Because [Choi Soon-shil] was still young, she was caught out by the investigating officer on a leading question about the group sex relationships. She was detained, but was released one week later without being prosecuted.” see page 122 of The Tragedy of the Six Marys.
(Her father got her out of jail. His name was Choi Seong-mo.) On July 29, 1955 four Unification Church leaders were indicted for evasion of military service and Eu Hyo-won was indicted for forgery…
The purpose of the investigation had been to prove that group sex activities had been going on in the Unification Church. However, the women who had been involved in the group sex did not have the courage to confess to it, and their husbands felt ashamed to admit it. So in the end Moon was released, but it was true that they had sex with Moon….”
Choi Soon-shil was known as the “future mother.” (see page 152) At the last moment, in October 1959, she refused to marry Moon and left the Unification Church. Moon was furious.
Pak Chung-hwa also wrote: “Because of [Moon] disturbing the social order with women in Pyongyang, he was sent to Heungnam [prison in 1948]. Thanks to the members in Seoul, who out of desperation committed perjury and frantically moved or destroyed evidence, Moon was said to be acquitted. But the facts had roots. He would otherwise have had a long prison sentence.”
Even today in South Korea money can get you released from rape charges.
Did followers use money from prostitution to get Moon out of jail after he had started his 2 year sentence?
Oh Yeong-choon, 呉永春, (below) was one of the most important and loyal early disciples. She joined in Busan in early 1952. Her testimonies were published in English in February, March and May 2013 by the UC / FFWPU; she had written them in 1978 after moving to the US. In the early years Moon trusted her with important money matters. During the 1955 Ewha Woman’s University sex scandal she raised a lot of money and paid it to contacts in the police and judiciary to try to stop Moon being investigated or then arrested. According to her words, when finally she had paid enough, Moon was released.
Oh Yeong-choon started a business near Yongsan Station that catered to U.S. soldiers. The soldiers would show up until 2 AM and by 4 AM they started swarming in.
▲ Belvedere in about 1972. Oh Yeong-choon is front left. She moved to the US and could then escape those she still owed money to. Later she left the Unification Church and contributed to Pak Chung-hwa’s book, ‘The Tragedy of the Six Marys’.
Oh Yeong-choon’s testimony:
“… To backtrack a bit, in the beginning of June 1955, Father called me. He told me that Ewha [Womans] University was trying to cause problems and to go borrow some money. Though there were many members, most of the members were new and did not have money. Father had no one he could trust and talk to about it.
That was a time when we were not so well off financially. However, I had to get the money even if it put me into debt. I have never disobeyed Father. My heart became restless and beat hard. Luckily, I had credit with someone I knew. The interest rate was 10 percent. Nothing scared me in those days. I borrowed 100,000 Won, another 100,000 Won and then 300,000 Dong-Seok and presented it to Father. Father would not even touch or look at it. Mr. No Dong-Hwi would take it. A month later, I thought we had closed all the loopholes, but then another loophole opened. Investigators took Father in on July 4, but he did not come back. We were completely shocked.
A few days later, the four leaders were also taken in. [Eu Hyo-won, Eu Hyo-yeong, Eu Hyo-min, Kim Won-pil and also Choi Soon-shil, who was the sister of Sam Park’s mother, was arrested on July 18th.] There were not any members with whom I could discuss details about the problem, so I had no choice but to start a gye. I thought that our first priority was to free Father. I heard that there was a person named Jo Dong-Seok, among our members, who had some experience with the police. Trusting him, I started giving him money to carry out the task of freeing Father. Lump sums of about 200,000 Won, 300,000 Won and 500,000 Won had to be invested. We would meet a prosecutor one day, and then meet a lawyer the next day. Whenever I met these people, the only thing that was discussed was money as though I owned a bank. If I could not meet a person, I would go around looking for the person. I had to find money haphazardly.
Creditors constantly kept asking for their money. I was in a completely tight position. Four months passed in this manner. I was so heavily in debt, but I never regretted it nor blamed it on anyone. I did not feel any pang of conscience because I did it for the God’s will and voluntarily. At times, I even got loans with a 30 percent interest rate. My heart was at ease no matter what other people said. The only painful part was not being able to pay back the money.
To make money, I decided to start a business, a thing I had never done in my life. I opened a shop in Yongsan Station that depended on business from the nearby army base. I ran it with Lee In-shik. Mr. Lee was in charge of the labor and I invested a million won. However, I did not have much time to myself. I did not even have time to eat or sleep because I had to visit Father and find money. I left the business in the hands of two single women, Park Seung-Kyu and Park Gye-Wol, and only came back at night. My goal was Father’s acquittal and discharge. I could not think of myself, and I had to look for money. I was ready to go to prison if I could not pay the creditors back. The only priority in my mind was how to free Father and the leaders who had been taken in.
Soldiers continued coming to Yongsan Station until 2 AM and by 4 AM they started swarming in. I could only sleep for two hours. … I was so exhausted that slept in the trolley and always missed my stop. I would have to get off and go back in the opposite direction. Sometimes I even dreamt while walking. Those who have never directly experienced this will not be able to understand what it actually felt like. At times, I put a bundle of money on my lap and dozed off. No matter how long I slept, no one stole the bundle of money. I felt heaven was certainly protecting it.”
▲ Moon was released after dark, at 9:40pm on October 4, 1955. There had been a brief hearing earlier that day where, according to the diary of Eu Hyo-won, “Chief Judge Yoon Hak-no proclaimed that Teacher was innocent” in spite of the fact that Moon had admitted his guilt in court on September 20. Oh Yeong-choon’s testimony sheds light on what happened.
Eu Hyo-won describes his midnight release from jail!
Eu Hyo-won’s diary: “September 28, 1955. In the morning, the bamboo pen broke. Yoo Kyung-gyu came to visit us. He told us, “With Teacher you are all going to be released today.” But we were still in a very uncertain mood. In the evening, Kim Won-pil, looking out through his window cried out, “This evening?” “Yes,” I answered with a loud voice, but I wasn’t sure. Thirty minutes later, there was still no news, and we went to bed. After we fell asleep, we finally heard the rattling noise of a door being opened and somebody shouting, “380, come out with your belongings.”
Lee Chang-whan was helping us pack. I gave him underwear, shirts and socks. More than ten came out, but I couldn’t see Teacher. When I went to his room 29, he was already looking in my direction. I said, “Why only me?” Teacher said, “Go as quickly as possible; that’s the way it is.” But I couldn’t turn away. I shed tears. I wanted to go back in. When I came out of jail, I saw Soo-Yung. When Wol-Sun greeted me, Tong-Suk held my hands very tightly. We returned to the church by jeep. There were [Kang] Hyun-Sil, Chung-Sook, Ok-Bong, Hwang Un-Ja, Tong-Chol’s mother, Kim Young-Oon, Kwang Yul [Yoo Kwang-Yol] and Kim Bang-Ul.”
Who made Moon’s “Certificate of Innocence”?
This certificate has no court symbol or address on it, which seems inappropriate for a document from the Seoul Superior Court. It states the date of sentencing was November 21, 1955. That does not match multiple newspaper reports from the time. The Dong-A Ilbo was just one of the respected papers that carried the story. They all state that Moon was sentenced on September 21, 1955.
On that day, Moon was indicted and began a two year jail sentence. Other church leaders were also indicted at the same time.
How could Sun Myung Moon be innocent if he had admitted his guilt to prosecutor Kang Seo-yong, 姜瑞龍 ? If Moon was innocent, why was he indicted and locked up, as the papers of the time reported.
The certificate of “innocence” does not seem to have the name of any official. It does not list all the other charges brought against Moon in July 1955. He was “charged with the false imprisonment” for three days of a 22 year-old female university student “who he forced to adopt his new religion”.
The certificate does not look like the usual Korea official documents which famously have multiple stamps on them. The one stamp it does have is so degraded that it is conveniently illegible. The certificate was apparently created on July 1, 1974, shortly before Moon’s Madison Square Gardens speech. Perhaps Moon wanted to forestall negative newspaper reports in the US in the run up to his big public event. The certificate is the same one that Bo Hi Pak presented to Donald Fraser during that Congressional investigation. Pak insisted that Moon was innocent, but the historical record seems to prove otherwise.