The German legal system is investigating pedophile activity on the Internet, estimated at around 30,000 people – local authorities announced Monday (June 29). This is one of the largest cases of this type in Germany – the AFP agency estimates.
“The use of children on the Internet is more widespread than we previously thought,” said Peter Biesenbach, Minister of Justice of North Rhine-Westphalia, at a news conference in Düsseldorf.
“We want to get the perpetrators of child abuse and those who support them out of the anonymity of the internet,” said the minister.
Investigations into child exploitation and online distribution of material depicting these crimes were launched in October last year. with the arrest of a 42-year-old man in Bergisch Gladbach near Cologne – reports the AFP agency.
The trial of the suspect begins in August, and a huge amount of child pornography material has been discovered in his apartment.
Units fighting cybercrime in North Rhine-Westphalia are investigating a case of 30,000 still unidentified people suspected of involvement in the pedophile case in Bergisch Gladbach – Biesenbach, announced Monday.
The identity of 72 suspects has already been established, eight of which have been charged. The case is being handled by a special investigative group, which currently has between 120 and 140 investigators, and 350 agents worked at its peak – dpa reports. It was added that 44 used children have been identified so far.
In May, a 27-year-old soldier was sentenced to 10 years’ imprisonment and placed in a mental hospital – this was the first sentence in a case related to this investigation.
The crimes were first revealed by Canadian police, who informed German investigators of pedophile content posted online from Germany. During the investigation, the existence of several discussion groups was discovered, attended by several thousand people exchanging pedophile material – informs AFP and assesses it to be one of the largest pedophile scandals in Germany.
“If we want to actively combat the exploitation of children on the Internet, we also need to talk about data storage laws. One cannot function without the other, ‘Biesenbach noted.
As AFP writes, this is yet another pedophile case in recent years that has shocked German public opinion, giving the authorities an increasingly uncompromising response. Some politicians are demanding that online anonymity be lifted for anyone who distributes or receives child pornography, the agency adds.