At the beginning of May, the Berlin Regional Court sentenced a 28-year-old to twelve years in prison and subsequent preventive detention. The man had committed serious sexual abuse in 50 cases, in seven cases even particularly serious.
This 28-year-old is the crucial starting point for the investigations that led to the arrest of a 44-year-old from Wermelskirchen in North Rhine-Westphalia. This was explained by the spokesman for the Berlin Public Prosecutor’s Office, Sebastian Büchner, without explicitly mentioning the man’s name. He wrote of “an accused living in Berlin who was sentenced to several years in prison for serious sexual abuse”. What is meant is Sönke G.
The 44-year-old man from Wermelskirchen is the main suspect in an abuse complex of previously unknown dimensions. Investigators from Cologne informed about this on Monday.
The employee is said to have exchanged pictures and videos of “unimaginable brutality” with dozens of other men, according to an investigator. According to police, five infants and children with disabilities were among the victims. A total of 73 suspects and 33 victims have been identified.
The investigators from the Berlin State Criminal Police Office (LKA) came across Sönke G. in the summer of 2021 because of an anonymous tip. He was arrested on August 4th. When analyzing the confiscated data, the investigators quickly realized that they could be dealing with a serious case of child abuse.
A six-person investigative group was founded, which came across the 44-year-old from Wermelskirchen when evaluating the data. Sönke G. had extensive chats with him. In late autumn, the Berlin LKA officials sent their entire findings to North Rhine-Westphalia.
There, the responsible officials immediately began further investigations and overpowered the 44-year-old in December on his switched-on computer. You could use it to backup the unencrypted data.
In this case, the current regulation of data retention did not pose an obstacle to the investigation, because the investigators had the chat history in their hands, which gave very clear indications of criminal offenses. Holger Münch, President of the Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA), complained again on Monday that many investigations into child abuse had to be discontinued because investigators only had seven days to check IP addresses, for example.
Due to the proceedings against the 44-year-old from Wermelskirchen, further suspected perpetrators are now being investigated in 14 federal states, including Berlin and Brandenburg. There are five procedures in Brandenburg; how high the number is in Berlin is not known. The spokesman for the prosecutor’s office did not provide any information.
On the Wermelskirchen complex, however, he said: “According to local knowledge, these are almost exclusively independent acts that are not related to the Berlin acts.”
The trial against Sönke G. from Berlin began remarkably quickly, with only a few weeks between the indictment and the start of the trial. The reason for this was the extensive acts that the 28-year-old was accused of. When searching his apartment in Neukölln, investigators discovered images of abuse on the computer.
The sexual assaults that the police encountered happened between January 2015 and March 2020. Sönke G.’s youngest victim was seven months old. Sönke G. penetrated the bodies of some children, sometimes covering their mouths. He had also filmed most of his acts. He had registered as a babysitter on the Internet.
G. is said to have committed three of the crimes with an accomplice. Its procedure lies with the public prosecutor’s office in Cologne.
Sönke G. had a criminal record for theft, but not for sexual offences. It was therefore unusual for a court to order preventive detention against a person who had no relevant criminal record. But there is a risk of repetition, “which results from the present slope,” the court said as a reason.