New details emerge in ‘worst child sexual abuse scandal in German history’

Horrific details have come to light in the Lügde trailer park child sexual abuse investigation, including that children were forced to abuse each other.

New details emerge in ‘worst child sexual abuse scandal in German history’
The partially demolished dwelling of the alleged perpetrator in Lügde. Photo: DPA

Earlier in 2019, news began to emerge of an organized child pornography ring located at a trailer park in Lügde, North Rhine-Westphalia. 

Two men are said to have carried out child sexual abuse, filming the abuse and distributing it online. More than 40 victims have been identified, with the abuse taking place since the 1990s. 

READ: Police 'failures' probed in the 'largest child abuse scandal in German history'

Reports in the Westfalen-Blatt have shed further light on the nature of the abuse, including that the accused men forced the children to abuse each other. 

A new round of police interviews

A series of interviews with the victims, some of them still children, has taken place over the past weeks. The new information has emerged from these interviews. 

Peter Wüller, a lawyer for four of the victims, told the Westfalen-Blatt that reading the victims’ statements was challenging. 

“It’s hard to read the children’s statements without emotion,” he said. 

“If I look at the faces of the little ones and I read what’s been done to them, I feel sick.

“What happened in Lügde is beyond any idea.”

The older of the two men, known as Andreas V (56) due to German privacy standards, worked together with his accomplice Mario S (34) to engage in the activity and produce the videos. 

The caravan where some of the alleged abuse is said to have taken place. Image: DPA

‘The largest abuse scandal in German history’

As reported by The Local in April, the case has gripped the nation’s attention over the past two months – both for the severity of the crimes and the subsequent failures of the police investigation. 

Police had been alerted to instances of abuse in the caravan park, but failed to properly investigate. Only a handful of phone interviews were undertaken, with no further efforts to follow up on the reports.  

The failures did not end there. Once the crimes had been detected, a suitcase full of evidence went missing from a police storage locker. 

Two police officers from the Detmold squad were stood down from duty and are being investigated for obstruction of justice offences. 

The SPD’s Hartmut Ganzke has previously called for North Rhine-Westphalia's Interior Minister Herbert Reul to resign, calling the incidents “the largest abuse scandal in the history of the country”. 

A new investigative team

Wüller has praised the current investigative team, particularly their handling of the victim interview process. 

“The children were very sensitively and patiently questioned,” he said. “They were able to provide very detailed information and they can easily differentiate between the two main defendants.”

Wüller said that the missing evidence was of course problematic, but the detailed and precise nature of the questioning meant that a conviction was likely.

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German man jailed for killing petrol station worker in mask row

A 50-year-old German man was jailed for life Tuesday for shooting dead a petrol station cashier because he was angry about being told to wear a mask while buying beer.

German man jailed for killing petrol station worker in mask row

The September 2021 murder in the western town of Idar-Oberstein shocked Germany, which saw a vocal anti-mask and anti-vaccine movement emerge in response to the government’s coronavirus restrictions.

The row started when 20-year-old student worker Alex W. asked the man to put on a mask inside the shop, as required in all German stores at the time.

After a brief argument, the man left.

The perpetrator – identified only as Mario N. – returned about an hour and a half later, this time wearing a mask. But as he bought his six-pack of beer to the till, he took off his mask and another argument ensued.

He then pulled out a revolver and shot the cashier in the head point-blank.

On Tuesday, the district court in Bad-Kreuznach convicted Mario N. of murder and unlawful possession of a firearm, and handed him a life sentence.

READ ALSO: Shock in Germany after cashier shot dead in Covid mask row

Under German law, people given a life sentence can usually seek parole after 15 years. His defence team had sought a sentence of manslaughter, rather than murder.

At the start of the trial, prosecutor Nicole Frohn told how Mario N. had felt increasingly angry about the measures imposed to curb the pandemic, seeing them as an infringement on his rights.

“Since he knew he couldn’t reach the politicians responsible, he decided to kill him (Alex W.),” she said.

Mario N. turned himself in to police the day after the shooting.

German has relaxed most of its coronavirus rules, although masks are still required in some settings, such as public transport.