In Germany, an investigation into a pedophile network with almost 30,000 suspects

German authorities announced on Monday that they are on the trail of 30,000 people suspected of pedophile activities on the Internet. It is one of the largest such cases in the country, which is currently discussing tougher penalties for perpetrators.

It is potentially one of the largest cases of pedophilia in Germany. Authorities announced Monday (June 29) to investigate 30,000 people suspected of mistaking children on the Internet.

“I did not even expect the scale of child abuse online,” was worried at a press conference by Peter Biesenbach, Minister of Justice for the Rhineland Region – from North-Westphalia, west of the country, where the scandal broke out last fall. Investigators have revealed “deeply worrying” information, “child abuse is more widespread than we previously thought,” he said.

These investigations into cases of abuse, abuse and abuse of children filmed for several years began in October 2019 with the arrest of a 42-year-old man in Bergisch Gladbach, near Cologne.

Anti-cybercrime force in North Rhine-Westphalia “is investigating 30,000 suspects who are still unknown in the pediatric case Bergisch Gladbach”, according to Peter Biesenbach. Over 70 suspects have already been identified throughout Germany, many of whom are currently on trial. In May last year, a 27-year-old soldier was sentenced to ten years in prison and placed in a mental hospital.

“The inhibition thresholds fall”

To date, at least 40 victims have been identified in what appears to be one of the biggest scandals of this kind in Germany.

Investigators were alerted by Canadian police who discovered child pornography content from this region.

The 42-year-old man was then arrested, whose trial is scheduled to begin in August. Investigators had found huge amounts of child pornography in his apartment. In the process, they also revealed the presence of various discussion groups with several thousand participants. These recipients of “cats” are now in German justice.

“We want to get the perpetrators who abuse children and those who support them out of anonymity on the internet,” said Peter Biesenbach.

“The authors who communicate at the forum believe that child abuse is ‘normal’ and finds a large number of like-minded people. The thresholds of inhibition are falling. And this is what characterizes this situation from a criminal point of view.” , he warned.

“If we are to actively fight child abuse on the Internet, we must also talk about legal provisions on data storage. One cannot work without the other,” he added.

Tougher sentences in Germany

After several cases of pedophilia in recent years that have shocked the country, the authorities are now more insensitive.

In early June, 11 people were arrested on suspicion of child sexual abuse and filming their actions, after taking videos and photos in the basement of a 27-year-old man in Münster, also in North Rhine-Westphalia.

In a previous scandal in Lügde, in the same region, several men were arrested on suspicion of abusing children for several years at a campsite.

The fact that “more and more cases of abuse are being revealed” in North Rhine-Westphalia has a lot to do with increasing the investigative capacity in the region, said Vice President Michael Maatz, president of a police union. “We must therefore expect that in the coming months other networks of pedophiles will be exposed,” he warned.

New revelations in early June of the disappearance 13 years ago in Portugal of little British girl Maddie McCann, and the identification of a new suspect, a German who is currently detained in Kiel, have forced in public debate the need for increased severity against perpetrators of pedophile offenses.

From now on, several German political leaders go so far as to demand that anonymity be revoked for anyone who only distributes or receives child pornographic material.

With AFP