April 27 (UPI) -- South Korean politicians clashed Monday over the timing of Busan Mayor Oh Keo-don's resignation following allegations of sexual misconduct last week.
At the center of the disagreement is the role of a law firm, Busan, founded by President Moon Jae-in in the same city. Main opposition conservatives are alleging the firm delayed the disclosure of the allegations ahead of crucial general elections on April 15, News 1 and local television network SBS reported Monday.
Shim Jae-chul, a representative of the main opposition conservatives, the United Future Party, said the law firm may have maintained ties to the presidential Blue House and Oh's office.
"The head of the law firm Busan, Jung Jae-sung, is the nephew-in-law of former President Roh Moo-hyun," Shim said, referring to the ex-South Korean leader who mentored Moon. "Jung was also chairman of the recruitment committee for Mayor Oh. What citizen would believe the Blue House did not know [of Oh's sexual misconduct] amid such a special connection?"
The ruling Democratic Party said on Thursday they were unaware of Oh's misconduct until he publicly resigned last week. South Korea's Democrats won a landslide victory on April 15.
"On the morning [of April 23], my surprise and horror [at Oh's misconduct] was beyond words," said ruling party leader Lee Hae-chan, a former prime minister under Roh.
A rape crisis center in Busan in charge of protecting Oh's primary accuser said Monday Oh's apology and resignation are more important than the internal politics of the party.
Last week, the center told local press the victim was suffering from trauma that "may prevent her from being able to work again."
Oh faced allegations of sexual harassment as early as October, when another plaintiff, a female government worker, appeared on a South Korean YouTube channel, claiming she had been the target of the mayor's sexually inappropriate behavior.
Oh reportedly filed a $400,000 suit against the group operating the YouTube channel, calling the claims "fake news" that "even cows would find funny."