The main suspect in a new abuse complex in North Rhine-Westphalia is said to have sexually abused twelve children. Half of the victims were younger than three years, said the investigators in Cologne on Monday. Accordingly, the 44-year-old from Wermelskirchen came into contact with his victims mainly as a babysitter. The youngest victim was a month old.
The man has been under investigation since November. He was arrested in December. The investigators confiscated numerous data carriers. A total of 32 terabytes of data was confiscated. One terabyte printed out on paper results in a stack around 25 kilometers high, the investigators explained about the dimensions of the case.
Much of it has not yet been evaluated – the number of victims and cases could therefore increase. Just backing up the data took 17 days.
“It will take a very long time before we have processed the complex,” said public prosecutor Ulrich Bremer. In addition, it can be assumed that the dimensions of the abuse complex in Bergisch Gladbach went beyond. In essence, the 44-year-old admitted the deeds.
It will be checked whether other children could have become victims of the man. Lists with references to other suspects were found on him. Her inclinations were also recorded in it. This widened the investigation. The suspects were not networked with each other. The 44-year-old maintained individual contacts with other suspects. It is therefore wrong to speak of a “pedophile ring”.
Investigators were shocked by the brutality of the abuses captured in the videos. “I have never encountered such a degree of inhuman brutality and callous indifference to the suffering of small children,” said Falk Schnabel of the Cologne police. “What I saw shook me to the core,” added public prosecutor Joachim Roth.
Some victims only found out in the course of the investigation that they had been victims of sexual abuse as small children. The videos found on the data carriers date back to 1993.
The 18 cases he is now accused of occurred between 2005 and 2019.
On Friday, the investigations into the new abuse complex in North Rhine-Westphalia against a total of 73 suspects in 14 federal states became public. The suspects are said to have possessed and traded child pornography. In some cases, they are said to have abused children themselves.
“We can already say that this abuse complex has a new, horrific dimension in many respects, which shakes me deeply,” said State Interior Minister Herbert Reul (CDU). Some of the videos are over half an hour long. “The suffering of the children is correspondingly long,” he said.
“We’ll get you – maybe not today, but one day we’ll be at your door,” Reul said in the direction of the perpetrators. The man from Wermelskirchen maintained contact with the main suspect in the Münster abuse complex. In a video chat, the 44-year-old watched abuse and gave instructions.