The Cologne Regional Court on Tuesday sentenced a man who found his victims by offering babysitting services online to 14 years and six months imprisonment for child abuse.
The 45-year-old was said to have documented the abuse of babies, children, and teenagers, sharing videos and images of “unimaginable brutality.”
What was the defendant found guilty of?
The defendant was found to have been responsible for a series of incidents of sexualized violence between 2005 and 2019. Prosecutors filed 120 separate charges against the man, of which 99 were for child sexual abuse.
The other cases concerned, among other things, aiding and abetting abuse and also the publication of child sexual abuse images.
In the indictment, the defendant was accused of having administered sleeping pills in order to abuse the children.
Investigators said they had uncovered vast amounts of incriminating data in 2021 at the married man’s home in the small town of Wermelskirchen, some 30 kilometers (about 18 miles) northeast of Cologne. He was arrested in December that year.
They said at the time that they had never previously “encountered such a level of inhuman brutality and callous indifference to the suffering of young children.”
According to the court, the prosecution alleges that the defendant himself abused 13 victims, the majority of whom were boys. The youngest victim was a girl about one month old.
The accused is alleged to have harmed seven other children by aiding or abetting other perpetrators.
Case uncovers wider network
The case made waves because it led to numerous other investigations, uncovering a whole network of abuse. According to the public prosecutor’s office, when the case opened in December, there were more than 130 suspects.
During the trial, a police officer said his team had wanted to arrest the suspect on an open computer so they could fully access videos of the offenses and other images of abuse in his possession.
The man had been in a video conference with colleagues when police arrived to take him into custody.
rc/nm (dpa, ARD)
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