German ‘babysitter’ convicted in major child sex abuse case

Posted at 7:23 AM, February 28, 2023 and last updated 4:45 PM, May 2, 2023

BERLIN (AP) — A 45-year-old German man who had offered babysitting services online was convicted Tuesday on charges of sexually abusing children in a case that shocked even veteran investigators and led them to uncover numerous other abuse suspects.

The regional court in Cologne sentenced the defendant, whose name wasn’t released for privacy reasons, to 14 years and six months in prison. It also ordered him held in secure confinement after the end of his sentence.

The defendant in the Wermelskirchen abuse complex holds a folder in front of his face in the courtroom in Cologne, Germany, Tuesday, Dec.6, 2022.  (Oliver Berg/dpa via AP)

Prosecutors had asked the court to impose a 15-year sentence, the maximum length normally permitted under German law, arguing that the defendant’s crimes were particularly grave.

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Investigators said the man had documented the abuse of babies, children and teenagers, and shared videos and images of “unimaginable brutality” with dozens of people.

Prosecutors had accused the man of more than 120 cases of sexual abuse against 13 children between 2005 and 2019. The youngest victim was one month old.

The defendant admitted the allegations during the trial and described them as “despicable,” according to German news agency dpa.

Police arrested the man in late 2021 at a house he lived in with his wife in the town of Wermelskirchen. The defendant was in a video call with work colleagues at the time of the police raid, dpa reported.