‘Appalling’ assault trial gets underway

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Three Norwegian men and two women went on trial in Drammen, southwest of Oslo, on Monday in what’s been called one of the worst child assault cases in Norway in modern times. Two of the defendants are accused of raping their own babies and filming the assaults for paid distribution.

The case comes just as a new EU report involving international police cooperation warns of how some pedophiles have resorted to ordering assaults on children over the Internet. Instead of being satisfied with photographs and video of assaults, reported Oslo newspaper Aftenposten, pedophiles are also paying for “live” assaults, and the Norwegian case is believed to involve this.

The police cooperation “has led to us being able to uncover valuable information about these appalling crimes,” Wil van Gemert, opertions officer in Europol, told Aftenposten.

Admitted raping his two-month-old
Those under indictment at the trial in Drammen include a 32-year-old man from Drammen, a 23-year-old woman from Kongsberg, a 27-year-old man from Oslo, a 34-year-old man from Solør in Hedmark County and a 43-year-old woman from Hønefoss.

The man from Drammen has admitted to filming himself while he raped his two-month-old son. He allegedly sent the film to others. He’s also charged with raping the three-month-old daughter of the 23-year-old woman from Kongsberg, with the woman’s consent. She also is charged with sexually assaulting her daughter, whom she also allowed to be raped again when the baby was nine months old.

The 27-year-old man from Oslo is charged with taking part in both rapes of the baby girl. The two other defendants are charged as accessories and being part of an alleged network to distribute the assaults. The man from Solør in rural Hedmark has been convicted earlier for distribution and sale of photos and film showing sexual assaults on children and he’s believed, among other charges, to have encouraged the baby rapes for distribution. The woman from Hønefoss is also charged with having distributed photos and film of her own two daughters, aged 10 and 13, being assaulted.

Caught chatting, strong evidence
Aftenposten reported that police cracked the case when the former convict from Solør allegedly chatted about the assaults on the Internet. Police put the man and his contacts under surveillance and eventually conducted raids against the suspects in which they seized computers, memory sticks and hard discs that contained valuable information and became valuable evidence.

More arrests may be made, since the material provided new leads for the police. Much of it has been sent to other police districts around Norway, and Aftenposten reported that 10 new investigations are underway around the country, tied to the alleged pedophile network.

Prosecutors intend to ask the court to sentence the defendants to a special form of custody known as forvaring, which could keep them confined indefinitely since it can be extended to protect society. “This is a highly special and serious case that will spark strong reaction,” prosecutor Kristin Røhne told newspaper Drammens Tidende. The case was expected to last for three months.

newsinenglish.no/Nina Berglund