Two men jailed in Germany over world largest sex abuse scandals

Two men jailed in Germany over world largest sex abuse scandals
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Attorney Jürgen Bogner , the defendants Mario S. and Andreas V. as well as attorney Johannes Salmen  stand side by side in the hall of the regional court.
A German court on Thursday sentenced two men to more than a decade each in jail after they pleaded guilty to sexually abusing dozens of children at a campsite over two decades.
The Detmold regional court jailed 56-year-old accused Andreas V. for 13 years, while 34-year-old Mario S. must serve 12 years.

After their sentences, both men will be held in preventive custody, a step reserved only for the most dangerous criminals.

The pair are believed to have been the main perpetrators in a series of abuse cases that went undiscovered for years at the campsite in Lügde, around 60 kilometres from Hanover in northern Germany.

Along with a third suspect, Heiko V., they were accused of 450 instances of child sexual abuse.

Prosecutors said more than 40 children fell victim to the men at the “Eichwald” campsite between 1998 and 2018.

Most of the children were between three and 14 years old at the time.

Some 33 witnesses, including 16 victims and 12 relatives, testified before the court in the trial over the past ten weeks, many of them behind closed doors.

Outrage over the serial abuse, uncovered in late January, grew nationwide as details of failings by police and local authorities came to light.

Two men jailed in Germany over world largest sex abuse scandals
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Despite sex abuse allegations against Andreas V., he was granted permission in 2016 to become the guardian of a six-year-old foster daughter.
Germans have been left wondering why he was allowed to foster children despite numerous red flags. Roman von Alvensleben, a lawyer whose office represented three victims in the case, shared those concerns in an interview earlier this week.
”I find it absurd to entrust someone a child who lives in a caravan, or a shack. The authorities were aware of what was going on,” Von Alvensleben said.
“This foster child became a bait to lure and attract other children. The children got to know each other at birthday parties, it was suggested that the children can play with each together, or that they can visit the amusement park together. The thinking was ‘I’ll do something with them, we can go swimming sometimes…’ That’s what my client’s mother did. She was not aware of what was really going on.”
Von Alvensleben criticized officials for failing in their duties to protect the children, adding: “I call this a breach of duties by authorities. These official breaches by police, the youth welfare office led to the fact that my client could be abused in the first place.”
An investigation is underway by the local Youth Welfare Office to determine how Andreas V. was allowed to become a foster parent.

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