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#METOO/Actor Aaron Yan indicted for filming, leaking intimate videos of youth

11/08/2023 09:21 PM
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Aaron Yan (right) is surrounded by reporters when he went to the Shilin District Prosecutor Office on July 3, 2023. CNA file photo
Aaron Yan (right) is surrounded by reporters when he went to the Shilin District Prosecutor Office on July 3, 2023. CNA file photo

Taipei, Nov. 8 (CNA) Taiwanese actor and singer Aaron Yan (炎亞綸), 37, was indicted Wednesday for filming and leaking intimate videos of a 16-year-old youth with whom he had a physical relationship, according to the Taiwan Shilin District Prosecutors Office.

In the indictment, Yan was charged with violations of the Child and Youth Sexual Exploitation Prevention Act by filming and possessing intimate videos of internet celebrity Raku (耀樂), and sending the footage to two netizens, even though he did not engage in mass distribution to unspecified recipients.

The case came to light after Raku made accusations on Facebook in June that Yan had filmed the two of them engaged in intimate acts without his consent, and leaked the videos in 2018.

Raku, who was 16 when he began a relationship with Yan in 2017, said the impact of the case caused him to drop out of school. He also accused Yan of threatening him not to go public with what happened.

Following Raku's revelation, Yan posted a statement on Facebook, apologizing to Raku for the suffering he had caused, acknowledging he used to be an "awful person."

However, Yan argued that he did not leak the videos and suggested the images could have been leaked when he sent his phone in to be repaired.

According to prosecutors, Yan got to know Raku through Facebook in 2017 and recorded private videos when the two had a relationship from December 2017 to June 2018, at his residence using a mobile phone.

During interrogations, Yan told prosecutors that he filmed the videos for entertainment, adding that he asked Raku for consent before doing so and did not disseminate the explicit content.

Yan said he had no idea how the videos were leaked, adding that he asked his friends to help remove them from online websites and financially supported Raku with his legal expenses, prosecutors said.

Prosecutors noted that they were persuaded by Yan's statement because the way the videos were filmed indicated Raku could not have been unaware of the recording.

Moreover, during their later online conversations, Raku never once suggested he had been unaware of being filmed, prosecutors said.

However, prosecutors found that Yan did send the videos to two netizens in May 2019 and February 2020.

Prosecutors also indicted a friend of Yan, surnamed Chen (陳), for breaching the Child and Youth Sexual Exploitation Prevention Act by downloading the footage from a social network platform and sending it to Yan.

According to the prosecutors, Yan could face six months to five years in prison and a fine of up to NT$500,000 (US$15,500) for the offense of creating electronic records of sexual intercourse with a youth.

Meanwhile, the other offense of intentionally possessing explicit material involving a youth could result in six months to five years in prison and a fine of up to NT$3 million.

In response to Wednesday's development, Yan thanked prosecutors on his social network page for rejecting accusations he engaged in forced sexual intercourse or gang-related intimidation.

As to his conduct, Yan said he will "certainly uphold his commitments, continue to contribute to society, and devote himself to self-reflection and personal growth," while he also apologized for "causing social unrest and consuming public resources."

On the other hand, Raku responded with a statement accusing Yan of "attempting to blur public perception and portraying his criminal behavior as a private relationship dispute."

Raku said he will discuss with his lawyers whether to proceed with the charges dropped by prosecutors.

(By Hsieh Hsing-en and Lee Hsin-Yin)

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