Category Archives: South-KOREA

Tim and Tina Sweet sentenced for fraud

Lehigh County Judge J. Brian Johnson ruled against Timothy H. Sweet and Tina Sweet in the lawsuit brought against them in 2008 by Attorney General Tom Corbett.

The couple is permanently barred from working with international students and must pay more than $178,000 in restitution to various victims, including numerous host families and schools throughout the Lehigh Valley and Central Pennsylvania and civil penalties. To make sure funds might be available at such time as judgement was made, Judge Johnson froze USE’s funds after the lawsuit was brought against the Sweet’s.

Tim and Tina Sweet, of 1746 Roth Avenue, South Whitehall Township in Pennsylvania, ran the foreign student exchange organization United Student Exchange. They were sued for illegally diverting funds intended to pay for school tuitions and support for the students. Indeed, Attorney General Corbett claimed that

“The Sweets and their business – United Student Exchange – took advantage of families hoping to send their children to America to enjoy once-in-a-lifetime educational experiences,” Corbett said. “Instead, visiting students and their U.S. host families were met with empty promises and disappointment – left to fend for themselves by a business that claimed to be ‘uniting the world with Christ, one student at a time’.”

South-Korea

Most of the exchange students the Sweet’s scammed were from South-Korea. Upon arrival none of the Christian families promised were available and the exchange students were crammed together in so-called temporary homes. Background checks were not performed nor did host-families recruited after the students arrived complete application forms. In fact, the Sweet’s deceived new host-families into taking in exchange students.

If complaints were made about housing conditions, the host-families or lack of supervision, USE threatened to return the exchange students to their home countries.

United Student Exchange was not registered with either the Pennsylvania Department of State nor the federal J-1 Exchange Visitor Visa program, supervised by the U.S. State Department and the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.

Judge Johnson concluded that the Sweets broke the law by using deceptive advertising. The couple has three months to pay the restitution and fines.

Attorney General Corbett said that violations include:

  • Failure to pay host families, as promised.
  • Failure to pay school tuition, as promised.
  • Misrepresentation of support to students and host families.
  • Contract terms in violation of Consumer Protection Law.
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2011 Feb 24: Richard Mink faces trial on charge of taking nude photos of male exchange student

John S. Hausman | jhausman@mlive.comBy John S. Hausman | jhausman@mlive.com 
on February 24, 2011 at 6:57 PM

A 76-year-old Muskegon man who has hosted foreign exchange students for nearly 20 years has been bound over for trial on a charge of manufacturing child pornography.

Richard William Mink of 2520 Glenside on Thursday waived a preliminary hearing in Muskegon County 60th District Court on that 20-year felony. He is accused of taking nude photos of a 16-year-old German male exchange student in 2009.

“Mink was bound over on the top count, and a plea to that count is anticipated,” said Brett Gardner, Muskegon County’s chief assistant prosecutor.

A separate case of second-degree child abuse, involving a 15-year-old South Korean male exchange student in 2010, was dismissed Thursday because the alleged victim does not want to cooperate, Gardner said.

Mink had been accused of abusing the Korean boy in a variety of ways, including paddling the boy on his bare bottom, making him walk naked in front of Mink, and watching him shower and fondling his genitals. In a recent Chronicle interviewMink acknowledged some of those allegations but denied the fondling.

The allegations surfaced in December after the South Korean student, who had been attending a local high school in Muskegon County, told a school counselor that he had been abused, sometimes sexually, at the hands of Mink.

The Muskegon police investigation into the Korean boy’s case led authorities to search Mink’s home, where they discovered nude photos of the German male exchange student, allegedly taken by Mink.

E-mail: jhausman@muskegonchronicle.com

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2011 Feb 07: Richard Mink of Muskegon charged with two felonies for allegedly abusing two foreign exchange students he hosted at his home

2011 Feb 07: Muskegon’s Richard Mink admits to paddling, forcing exchange student to walk nude in front of him, denies fondling [UPDATE]

2013 Oct 17: USA: Allentown Diocese priest didn’t report sex abuse disclosed during confession, lawsuit alleges

By Tom Shortell | The Express-Times
on October 17, 2013 at 6:28 PM

A South Korean student who was sexually abused at a Pen Argyl academy is suing Pius X High School and the Diocese of Allentown.
In a lawsuit filed today in Northampton County, the student said she alerted a priest at Pius X of the sexual abuse four times during confession. The priest never alerted authorities, according to the lawsuit.

Matt Kerr, a spokesman for the diocese, declined comment. The diocese does not publicly comment on ongoing litigation, he said.
The student was one of dozens who lived at Ace Academy USA in order to attend class at Pius X. Getting into a South Korean college or university is extremely competitive, so the students attended American schools to better their chances of getting into an American college, ACE Academy Director Richard Kim said in 2007.
Three years later, Kim began sexually assaulting the 14-year-old girl left in his care, according to police. The abuse lasted from November 2010 to February 2011 before police were notified, the lawsuit stated.

Kim was sentenced to five to 10 years in state prison. His parents, Min and Yong Kim, who were heavily involved in running ACE Academy, pleaded guilty this year to failing to report suspected child abuse. Min and Yong Kim were sentenced to one year of probation.
The academy is also named in the suit. There is no public phone listing for the Kims and they couldn’t be reached for comment.
In the lawsuit, the student’s attorneys say the diocese and high school officials either knew or should have known that Richard Kim posed a risk to the students at the school. ACE and the Kim family also failed to protect the students entrusted to their care.
“We feel they had a major responsibility to these kids. They traveled thousands of miles to attend that school. You can’t just disclaim any responsibility,” said Howard Myerowitz, an attorney representing the victim.

Myerowitz said the abuse came to light only when the victim told a friend also attending ACE Academy. The friend alerted her mother back in South Korea, who alerted the victim’s mother, who contacted authorities, he said.

That differs somewhat from information offered by Assistant District Attorney Patricia Broscius, who prosecuted Richard Kim. During the sentencing, she also credited a Pius X priest with stepping forward and alerting authorities, she said. She confirmed tonight that the priest was willing to testify about the victim’s confession at trial if needed.
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2011 Jul 07: Ace Academy director accused of sexually assaulting student at the Pen Argyl foreign school

2012 May 04: Former director at Ace Academy pleads guilty to sexual assaults on student

2012 May 04: Former director at Ace Academy pleads guilty to sexual assaults on student

By Tom Shortell | The Express-Times

on May 04, 2012 at 12:17 PM, updated May 04, 2012 at 5:23 PM

Express-Times File PhotoRichard Kim, left, walks into district court in Wind Gap with his attorney, Charles W. Gordon.

A director of a foreign exchange academy associated with Pius X High School pleaded guilty today to sexually molesting one of the teenage students under his supervision.

Richard Kim, 34, spoke only in whispers as he entered a guilty plea to Northampton County Judge Leonard Zito to corruption of minors and 17 counts of indecent assault. In return for his plea, the Northampton County District Attorney’s Office agreed to drop 59 other related charges.

Authorities say Kim repeatedly molested a then 13-year-old Korean girl who was attending Pius X High School through Ace Academy USA, the foreign exchange program run by his father, Min Kim. Assistant District Attorney Patricia Broscius said the victim was one of several Korean students living at the Pen Argyl academy. Students kept to a strict regiment of chores, were told not to speak Korean at school and were not allowed to participate in most after-school activities offered at the high school.

Broscius said the victim was struggling to adapt to her surroundings in America, and was scolded by Min Kim, who was called “Daddy Director” by the students, for not smiling enough. The one person she felt close to was Richard Kim, who showed her compassion and made her feel good about herself, Broscius said.

“He was her friend at the school. He was her only friend there,”Broscius said.

Their bond led to one-on-one counseling sessions, Broscius said, but about one month after her arrival in the country, Kim leaned in and kissed her, authorities say. Kim promised not to do it again after the victim pulled away in shock, but the sexual contact gradually escalated to groping and forcing her to perform sexual acts on him, Broscius said.

The contact continued for three months before the victim, who is not Catholic, eventually told a priest during confession at the high school, Broscius said. The priest told her she needed to step forward about the abuse, and the victim alerted her mother back in South Korea what was happening, according to authorities. The mother came to the United State to remove her daughter from the school and informed authorities, Broscius said.

The plea was a stark turnaround for Kim, who vehemently denied the assaults took place when he was first charged. His attorney, Charles Gordon, declined to comment on why his client accepted the plea deal a week before he was scheduled for trial.

The criminal investigation into Richard Kim was hampered by Min Kim, Broscius said. He is under investigation for allegedly telling the other students at Ace to support Richard Kim over the victim, but Broscius would not provide further details. Most of the students at the academy have since left, she said.

A call to Min Kim seeking comment was not immediately returned. Gordon said he is in talks with the elder Kim but does not represent him. He is still listed as a staff member on Pius X High School’s website.

Broscius requested Richard Kim, who was out on bail, be held in Northampton County Prison. She feared that if Kim were allowed to remain out on bail, the remaining students at Ace Academy would be subjected to discipline for their willingness to testify against him. Broscius also said Kim was a flight risk.

“I am certain he has ties to Korea, and I am certain he has the ability and wherewithal to flee the country,” she said.

Gordon dismissed Broscius’ claims, saying Richard Kim has not had any contact with the school since he was charged and has been living in Philadelphia. Richard Kim was born in the United States, attended Penn State University and would be willing to surrender his passport as a show of good faith, he said. Gordon also said Richard Kim had no involvement in any pressure his father may have placed on the other students.

“We agreed the defendant should not be punished for the acts of the father,” Gordon said.

Zito reset Kim’s bail, raising it to 10 percent of $500,000, and ordered Kim to surrender his passport. Court records show Kim made bail, and he is due in court Aug. 3 for sentencing.

Ace Academy has a contract to send its students to Pius X High School through the 2017-18 school year, but Diocese of Allentown spokesman Matt Kerr said the school is reviewing whether to continue its relationship with Ace Academy. At the time the contract was signed, school officials saw the Korean academy as a way to keep the high school afloat as they struggled to keep enrollment up. In 2007, the Korean students made up seven percent of the 212-member student body. This year, enrollment has boomed up to 295, Kerr said.

“School enrollment has grown tremendously in recent years – not just with the Korean community, but overall. I’m sure the school is in a strong position,” he said.

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2011 Jul 07: Ace Academy director accused of sexually assaulting student at the Pen Argyl foreign school

2013 Sep 13: Host Family for Korean Exchange Students Charged with Child Molestation

(Lawrenceville, Georgia, September 13, 2013)  Gwinnett County Police Department Special Victims Unit detectives were called to a local school in reference to a sexual abuse report on September 11, 2013.  A teenager made an outcry of abuse to an employee of the school, who called police.  The victims told employees of the school that their host family had provided them with alcohol and forced them to strip and touch each other.

Detectives determined the victims were six Korean national teenagers, male and female, ranging in age from 15 to 18.  The victims were living with Woo Yi (A/M, 42 years old) and his wife, Hyun Yi (A/F, 41 years old).  The parents of the six victims had paid Woo Yi more than $15,000 each to host their children while they attended local high schools.  All six of the children lived with the Yi’s at their home: 3830 Regal Oaks Drive, Suwanee (unincorporated), Georgia.  The children attended several different schools.

When detectives interviewed the six victims, they said that the Yi’s would provide them with alcohol and have them play games.  The losers would be required to remove an item of clothing.  After the victims were naked, Woo Yi would order them to kiss and touch each other.  Detectives believe this happened four or more times.

Following the initial investigation, detectives placed Woo Yi and Hyun Yi under arrest for two counts of child molestation and six counts of furnishing alcohol to minors.  They are currently being held in the Gwinnett County Detention Center without bond.  Additional charges are under investigation.  The victims have been placed in temporary homes at their parents’ request.