A Norwegian man in his 40s is now believed to have “sexually infringed” online upon more than 100 children living in 40 townships around the country. The man was a trusted elementary school teacher and even led their brass bands.
He has admitted having had contact with his victims, mostly girls aged 12-13, over the Internet. Posing as one of them, he encouraged them to disrobe and engage in sexual acts in front of their computers with webcameras. He’s also charged with having sexual relations with two girls under the age of 16, but his defense lawyer contends he thought they were above the age of consent.
“This is a very large and serious case,” prosecutor Julie Dalsveen of the Vestoppland Police District in Gjøvik, which encompasses where the defendant lives, told newspaper Aftenposten on Thursday. Newspaper VG first reported on the case in February, when police thought the case involved around 20 victims. The number of what the police call alleged seksuelle krenkelser has since more than quadrupled and may rise further, since the defendant has worked at several elementary schools around eastern Norway.
“This case clearly shows how vulnerable children and youth are, when it comes to being tricked and exploited on the Internett,” said lawyer Inger Marie Støen, who’s coordinating legal aid for the victims who thought they were “chatting” online with other girls, not a grown man. “And this shows how important it is for parents to be alert. Many had no idea what was going on.”