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Sunday, May 26, 2024

Convicted pedophile may appeal

A convicted Norwegian pedophile known as Lommemannen (The Pocket Man) seemed likely to appeal after being sentenced on Monday to nine years of forvaring, a special form of protective custody that can be extended for life. His defense attorney called the sentence “harsh.”

Erik Andersen, an affluent 58-year-old businessman from the Bergen area, has already spent three years in custody. He was arrested after one of the biggest manhunts in Norwegian police history, following decades of reported sexual assaults against young boys.

‘Pocket trick’
The victims described a casually dressed otherwise seemingly respectable man who asked them to help him get something out of his pockets. When they complied, they discovered that the pocket had been cut out of his trousers and they unwittingly came in contact with his erect penis.

The long string of such assaults occurred all over southern Norway, and police spent years connecting them and concluding that the perpetrator was someone who could travel frequently on business. Andersen was arrested after a lengthy investigation and among the evidence against him was the discovery of trousers in his home with the pockets cut out of them.

Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) reported that Andersen was acquitted of one of the rape charges also lodged against him, but convicted of all the other assaults. He had admitted to 16 of the 68 assaults with which he was charged.

Weapons violations, too
He also was convicted of violating weapons laws after being found with two pistols, four revolvers, more than 1,000 bullets and several knives. He only had a license to bear one of the weapons.

His defense attorney, Gunhild Lærum, had argued strenuously against the protective custody sentence, which can be considered among Norway’s strictest because it can effectively become a life term if extended. The court in Follo, south of Oslo, ruled that Andersen must be held at least six years of the nine-year term. 

Andersen was also ordered to pay more than NOK 2.5 million in compensation to his victims, with two of them getting NOK 125,000 (about USD 22,000) and the rest between NOK 25,000 and 50,000. That’s much lower than what the victims’ attorneys had sought, while the protective custody sentence itself is in line with prosecutors’ demands.

Lærum and Andersen had argued that he was a “copy-cat” pedophile who started his “pocket trick” after hearing some boys at a beach complain of such attacks. He therefore contends he’s being blamed for earlier assaults of which he’s innocent. Lærum said she and her client would now consider his right to appeal.

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