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Alleged exchange student abusers 'have hosted kids for some time'

Woo Ki Yi

Woo Ki Yi

photo

Hyun Yi

SUWANEE — The six Korean exchange students allegedly forced to strip and touch each other were not the first to be hosted by the Suwanee couple accused of abusing them.

The Daily Post first reported Thursday that Woo Ki Yi, 42, and wife Hyun Ju Yi, 40, had been charged with child molestation and furnishing alcohol to minors in connection to incidents involving exchange students — all ages 15 to 18 — staying at their home at 3830 Regal Oaks Drive in Suwanee. More details came to light on Friday, including concerns about the potential for additional victims.

According to Gwinnett County police, six Korean teenagers had been staying with the Yis for about nine weeks, their parents paying more than $15,000 apiece for them to have somewhere to live while attending local high schools. All was seemingly well until Wednesday, when one of them “made an outcry of abuse” to an employee at their school. Authorities were contacted.

“When detectives interviewed the six victims, they said that the Yis would provide them with alcohol and have them play games,” Gwinnett County police spokesman Cpl. Jake Smith said. “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.”

Those “games” are believed to have happened four or more times, Smith said.

The Yis were arrested late Wednesday and are being held without bond. They face two counts of child molestation and six alcohol charges apiece.

Smith said that the students had been placed “in temporary homes at their parents’ request.” More details on that front were not available.

It was unclear Friday if the Yis were participants in a legitimate program or operated independently, but they had hosted exchange students before. The possibility of other alleged victims is being looked into, Smith said.

“Apparently they have hosted kids for some time,” Smith said, “but we don’t have anything to say this happened before. It’s a concern that will be looked into.”

Additional charges from the current group of victims are also being explored.