Trial begins in mass child abuse case in Germany

Source: Xinhua| 2019-06-27 23:26:50|Editor: Mu Xuequan
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BERLIN, June 27 (Xinhua) -- The trial against three men for hundreds of cases of child abuse over many years at a campsite began at the regional court in Detmold on Thursday.

The magnitude of the case is considered one of the biggest abuse scandals of the past decades in Germany, with more than 40 children abused over a period of 20 years.

The cases of child abuses, which took place on a campsite in the town of Luegde in North-Rhine Westphalia over many years, had become known to German authorities at the end of January.

On Thursday, the two main defendants have confessed to most of the accused crimes in front of the German regional court.

A 56-year-old long-term camper and a 34-year-old are accused to have sexually abused boys and girls for many years, often severely.

The 56-year-old alone is charged with 298 crimes of sexual violence against 23 children in the summer of 1998, and from 2008 to 2018, according to the German court.

The Detmold public prosecutor's office also found that the two men had filmed some of the acts of violence. A third man is accused of having taken part in webcam transmissions of the crimes.

Huge quantities of image and video files showing sexual assaults and abuse of minors had been seized from all three men, according to the German court.

Most of the victims were between three and 14 years old when the crimes were committed, according to the German court.

The suspected crimes were "unequivocally abhorrent," said presiding judge Anke Grudda and "the accusations do not leave anyone untouched".

The high number of potential victims as well as the long period of the suspected crimes left people "stunned," added the German judge.

At the same time, Grudda rejected a preliminary conviction of the accused, who, as in any other trial, would be presumed innocent until proven otherwise.

At the beginning of the trial, the regional court in Detmold temporarily excluded the public from accessing the courtroom.

Grudda justified the exclusion of listeners and German media representatives with the legitimate interest of the victims, whose names, dates of birth and places of residence were included in the indictment.

The case had gained significant attention after a whole series of investigation breakdowns and authority errors in the case became evident following the uncovering of the crimes back in January.

Among other things, evidence disappeared at the Lippe police station and the behavior of youth welfare offices in the time around the time of the abuse was sharply criticized.

The Detmold regional court has initially scheduled a total of 10 trial days for the proceedings until the end of August.