Yet another massive case of sexual assaults against children began unfolding in a courtroom Gjøvik this week. It’s the latest in a string of shocking violence against young victims, carried out by middle-aged Norwegian men.
This time it’s a 49-year-old former music teacher and band leader who’s charged with 225 counts of criminal assaults on both children and animals. The 28-page indictment is one of the biggest cases ever to be heard in a Norwegian court, and it involves 110 youngsters from all over the country.
Confessed to most charges
Newspaper Aftenposten noted on Tuesday how the defendant, who has admitted guilt on nearly all the charges against him, might well have continued his sexual violence had it not been for one mother who entered her 12-year-old daughter’s room one day in October 2014 and found her naked in front of her computer. She immediately called police and the 49-year-old man was arrested just four days later.
Police found large quantities of computer equipment in his home in Oppland County and were able to uncover evidence of one online assault after another. They found no less than 840,000 records of chats with his young victims and then had to carry out the grim task of tracking down and informing all the targets of his attention and their parents, and explain how he used them to have sex with minors.
“I don’t remember,” he testified when asked about one physical assault on one of several girls under age 16, “but if she says I did what she says, it must have happened. I have created enough problems for people.”
Posed as a peer
Around half his victims are now over 16 years and will testify in the Gjøvik courtroom. Others will testify via video links from courtrooms around Norway. The man was active in exploiting his pupils, band members and others since 2003, often tricking them into thinking he was another young girl, and thus getting them to unclothe and engage in various illegal acts on camera. He physically assaulted three of the children, including one 15-year-old he met at a music festival.
“I wanted to help her buy a better instrument,” he testified. “And then we met and had contact.”
Investigators have seized 39,000 photos from his computer and mobile telephone, including evidence of him having sex with a girl 25 years younger than himself. The court in Gjøvik has set aside 10 weeks for his trial. The case is beginning just days after another Norwegian man was sentenced to 12 years in custody in another case involving sexual assaults on children and animals. He has appealed his prison term.