A Norwegian man in his 20s who has worked as a football referee has been indicted on charges of sexually assaulting more than 300 boys and young men from Norway, Sweden and Denmark. The indictment was disclosed this week, but the man has been in custody and undergoing treatment since 2016.
State broadcaster NRK reported that the man, who’s from the Oslo area, pretended to be a girl who sought contact online, via websites, social media and chat services. He convinced his young male victims to send him intimate photos of themselves, after which he threatened to make the photos public unless they continued online and physical contact with him. He’s charged with sexual abuse and rape in the 81-page indictment.
Prosecutor Guro Hansson Bull believes the assault case is Norway’s largest yet, noting that it’s been under investigation for the past two years. Most of the assaults are believed to have taken place in 2015 and 2016, until he first was arrested. Police also found more than 16,000 sexually explicit films that he had received and stored.
His defense attorney, Gunhild Lærum, said he was cooperating with police and “very sorry” about what he’s done. He has not yet admitted guilt to all the charges against him, however. Christian Lundin, attorney for the victims, told state broadcaster NRK that many of them feel enormous shame and guilt themselves for having initially sent photos and videos of themselves, and then finding themselves trapped. The case is set for trial in the Nedre Romerike Court early next year.