For years, a 45-year-old is said to have offered to babysit and sexually abused children. The indictment makes clear the scale of the complex, which shocked even experienced investigators.
Cologne/Wermelskirchen – Charges have been brought against the main suspect of sexual violence against children in the Wermelskirchen crime complex. The 45-year-old is accused of a total of 124 acts, 99 of which involve the sexual abuse of children, as a spokesman for the Cologne Regional Court announced on Friday. Previously, “Der Spiegel” had reported about it.
The crimes are said to have been committed between March 2005 and September 2019. The man is said to have offered himself as a babysitter and got in touch with the families of the victims via online platforms.
Regional court: “severe cases”
Altogether there are 23 direct or indirect victims: according to the court, the man is said to have committed crimes himself on 13 children – “more boys than girls” – between the ages of 11 months and 13 years. In addition, there were three cases of offenses against 14-year-old boys, who are therefore considered adolescents and no longer children. He is said to have been guilty of aiding and abetting crimes in seven child victims.
According to the district court, 89 of the 99 cases of sexual abuse of children are considered “serious cases” because “acts similar to coitus” occurred. In nine of these cases, the man is said to have made so-called child pornographic recordings.
In 15 cases, allegations of aiding and abetting “significant acts of abuse by other people” are involved. The ten other cases concern child pornography or crimes against sexual self-determination in which the victims were young.
“He will make a comprehensive confession, also in the main hearing,” said Christian Lange, the 45-year-old’s lawyer. He had been cooperative and confessed to the investigators so far. Lange said his client wanted to help clarify as much as possible. He announced that there would be no major arguments about individual cases in the process. According to the spokesman for the district court, the trial is expected to begin in December.
Special forces arrested the man last December after he became aware of investigations into one of his chat partners in November. He is said to have exchanged child pornographic images and videos with dozens of other men. More than 80 suspects are now being investigated.
Millions of pictures and videos
Investigators found huge amounts of abuse depictions at the Wermelskirchener – 3.5 million pictures and 1.5 million videos. Just backing up the files on 232 data carriers took 17 days. He is said to have divided his child pornography archive into lists – probably in order not to lose track.
The accused is also said to have been in contact with one of the perpetrators from the abuse complex in Münster, watched him abuse via video chat and gave instructions.
Even experienced investigators were shocked by the extent and brutality of the cases. Cologne’s police chief Falk Schnabel said in May that he had never encountered such a degree of inhuman brutality and callous indifference towards small children, their pain and their screams. Chief Public Prosecutor Joachim Roth said what he saw shook him to the core. dpa