Man arrested in childrens’ rapes

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UPDATED: Police in Asker confirmed to Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) Thursday evening that they had arrested a man in his mid-40s and charged him with rapes of two five-year-old girls late last week. On Friday, the man admitted to having indecent contact with the girls but not to rape.

Police in Asker og Bærum said they had a breakthrough in the case on Thursday, leading to the arrest of a man suspected of raping two five-year-old girls. PHOTO: newsinenglish.no

Police in Asker og Bærum said they had a breakthrough in the case on Thursday, leading to the arrest of a man suspected of raping two five-year-old girls. PHOTO: newsinenglish.no

“This is extremely serious,” Nina Karstensen Bjørlo of the Asker og Bærum Police District told NRK after his arrest at Vøyenengen in Bærum on Thursday afternoon. It came after a breakthrough in the case that has deeply shaken the suburban community west of Oslo.

Police, who believe he blindfolded the girls before assaulting them late last week, asked a local court on Friday to jail the man for at least four weeks while they continue their investigation. They fear he may tamper with evidence if allowed to go free.

“We are, on the basis of both technical and tactical investigation, certain that we have the right man,” said prosecutor Lisbeth Ravlo Backe on Friday afternoon. She added that police couldn’t rule out connecting him to other cases.

Police had earlier said the two pre-schoolers were sexually assaulted in a forested area behind a large residential apartment complex at Borgen in Asker, which is home to many families with small children. Details remain sketchy or haven’t been publicly released because of the sensitive nature of the case, but police have said that it was the girls’ parents who called police after the assaults that are believed to have occurred between 5pm and 6pm on Friday.

The girls were questioned by both police and, most recently, judicial experts, but police had said as late as Thursday morning that they were still trying to identify the alleged assailant.

Bjørlo told NRK that police “had a breakthrough in the investigation during the day. We have had an intensive investigation since the incident was reported, and have now gathered  enough information to arrest this man.”

She refused to reveal more details about the evidence or information gathered, or reveal the content of the questioning that’s been conducted.

Bjørlo did say, however, that the young girls did not know the man now under arrest. “For the girls, it was an unknown assailant,” she said.

newsinenglish.no/Nina Berglund