Two suspects in the caravan park paedophilia case which includes dozens of minors as young as four years old have admitted abusing 34 victims in court.
The trial of the alleged campsite perverts started amid huge media attention on Thursday morning at the district court of Detmold in the western German state of North Rhine-Westphalia.
The case centres on the rundown Eichwald caravan park in the town of Luegde where prosecutors believe around 40 boys and girls aged between four and 13 were raped over 1,000 times by main suspect Andreas V., 56, and campsite neighbour Mario S., 34, who were both busted in January this year.
Pictures Credit: CEN
A third suspect identified as 49-year-old Heiko V. is also on trial for watching the alleged abuse via a webcam, and investigators reportedly found tens of thousands child porn videos at his home.
However, the trial has so far centred on the alleged rape of 34 victims which both suspects admitted to in court today, according to local media.
Andreas V.’s lawyer Johannes Salmen said: “My client admits all cases of which he is charged. However, he will not give any personal information, answer questions or let himself be psychologically evaluated.”
Lawyer Juergen Bogner said on behalf of his client Mario S.: “I confess I have abused these children and made images for my private needs. It was not until I was in custody that I realised what terrible acts I had committed.
Pictures Credit: CEN
“It will not be possible to make amends, which is why I want to avoid the children having to testify. It’s an attempt to apologise. I am ashamed and regret it. Believe me, the apology is sincere.”
Presiding judge Anke Grudda said that the charges as outlined in the indictment were “unquestionably disgusting”.
She said that “the charges leave no one untouched”, and vowed to thoroughly and impartially go through the evidence of each case.
Thirty co-plaintiffs represented by 19 lawyers as well as 53 witnesses will appear in court. So far, 10 trial days have been scheduled with a verdict being expected at the end of August.
Pictures Credit: CEN
According to local media, investigators now say that the children were not only raped, but were also forced to have sex with each other.
One of the suspects reportedly forced a young victim at the caravan park to abuse other children while he recorded the act.
Lawyer Peter Wueller represents four of the victims and said that “what happened in Luegde exceeds all imagination”.
He added: “It’s hard to read the children’s statements without becoming emotional. If I look at the faces of the little ones and then read what has been done to them, I feel sick.”
Previously, Interior Minister of the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia Herbert Reul warned that investigators might not be able to cope with the substantial evidence.
Reul said: “We were faced with a mountain of data, images and films.”
According to Reul, the evidence is so great that one police officer would “need 2,000 years” to watch all the material.
Wueller said that the evidence of the public prosecutor’s office shows that the boys and girls were raped in every way imaginable, including with objects, with some children trying in vain to defend themselves.
According to local media, the evidence encompasses around 15 terabytes of data, among which are three million child pornography pictures as well as 10,000 videos.
Investigative blunders have cast a dark light on the case as the first reports of the mass child abuse were passed on to the authorities in 2016, according to local media.
Father-of-two Jens Ruzsitska reported main suspect Andreas V. to both the cops and the youth welfare office after he allegedly saw him grope children at a birthday party in the town of Bad Pyrmont, but no action was taken.
Investigations against several police officers and youth welfare office workers are underway to establish why action was not taken much earlier.
The trial continues.
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