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'Panty thief' is sentenced in Multnomah County

Sung Koo Kim apologizes to victims for causing 'anxiety'

Sung Koo Kim will not be released from jail until late 2013 under a plea bargain agreement finalized in Multnomah County Circuit Court Wednesday afternoon.

Judge Jerry Hodson sentenced the so-called 'panty thief' to 25 months in prison on burglary and theft charges for stealing womens' underwear from colleges in the Portland area.

During the sentencing hearing, Kim apologized to his victims for the 'bad feelings and anxiety' he had caused them.

Speaking to reporters as he was being escorted back to jail, Kim said he learned 'to not break the law' and promised he would spend his sentence improving himself 'mentally and physically.'

After the sentencing, Kim's mother, Dong Kim, apologized to the community for her son's behavior and asked that the community fogive him. She said her son was mentally ill and blamed herself for not recognizing the symptoms earlier.

'I urge all parents who see signs of depression and mental illness in their children to seek help,' she said.

Kim has entered into plea bargain agreement in Yamhill and Washington counties that will result in him serving 115 months in prison. According to Marc Sussman, one of Kim's attorneys, Wednesday's plea bargain agreement will add approxiately six months to those sentences.

Although similar charges are still pending in Benton County, Sussman predicted an agreement will be reached there that will not add any additional prison time to the other sentences. Kim will receive credit for already serving more than two years in jail and for 'good time' behavior, Sussman said.

Kim's parents have complained about the length of the sentences, arguing that their son needs treatment, not jail time. Sussman agreed the case demonstrates the inability of the state to adequately assess and deal with mentally ill people who commit crimes. Although Kim admitted to gathering personal information on several coeds, he did not contact any of them.

'Sung Koo Kim's case presents a very clear illustration of the current difficulties of how the criminal justice system and the mental health system deals with people who have been charged with crimes who have clear mental health difficulties in terms,' Sussman said.

Prosecutors allege Kim represents a threat to the community, however, arguing that he had written about kidnapping, torturing and killing women on his personal computer. Thousands of images of women being torture and murdered were found on Kim's computer, all apparently downloaded from commerical pornography websites. A small number of child pornography images were also found on his computer, and his Washingon County sentence reflects a guilty plea on those charges, too.