Abuse trial in Wels: “Maximum punishment was the only option”

Abuse trial in Wels: “Maximum punishment was the only option”
A tip from the USA put the BKA on the trail of the Austrian.

He is said to have sexually assaulted four girls in Upper Austria, collected thousands of depictions of child abuse since 2017 and commissioned and viewed abuse in Southeast Asia in live chats. “We can’t imagine a worse case,” the maximum sentence was the “only option,” said the judge.

The process took place largely behind closed doors. In her opening statement at the start of the trial on November 7th, the public prosecutor gave an “insight into the psychological depths” of the defendant. She quoted from the psychiatric report that he was a “core pedophile” and acted according to a “planned and urgent pattern”. So he downloaded a manual from the Internet that explains how to gain the trust of children.

According to the public prosecutor, he probably also proceeded in the four cases in Austria. The victims between the ages of four and 14 came from his neighborhood or the immediate surroundings. In no case was a complaint filed against the tormentor because the defendant put pressure on the girls and convinced them that they had committed “a crime.”

“Tip of an Iceberg”

The defendant had only partially confessed beforehand. He admitted possession of child abuse images. He claims he never approached the three younger girls inappropriately and only had a “consensual sexual relationship” with the fourth after his 14th birthday. According to his defense attorney, he is “very remorseful” and has since been transferred from regular custody to a forensic therapeutic center. Your “sick” client also wants to undergo therapy.

“We were only able to charge what we know,” the prosecutor feared in her closing speech, saying that they had only uncovered “the tip of an iceberg.” The 37-year-old only gradually admitted what was clearly proven to him, and she sees his partial confession as unsuitable as a mitigating factor. According to the psychiatric report, such acts are still to be expected; in addition to core pedophilia, there is also a “sadistic tendency on the part of the defendant that should not be underestimated.” Therefore, in addition to a punishment, she also requested a committal. The defense attorney saw a remorseful confession and asked for a lenient sentence. Her client said he regretted his actions “deeply” and said he “didn’t do it with any bad intention.”

The court found him guilty of multiple rapes, serious sexual abuse of minors, sexual abuse of minors, sexual coercion, abuse of a relationship of authority and pornographic depiction of minors – as the offense of depicting child abuse is officially called. There was “absolutely no remaining doubt” about the information provided by those affected, the judge said in her verdict. The defendant’s “very subtle and manipulative approach” became clear, as did his sadistic tendencies and lack of empathy. His confession “contributed nothing to finding the truth.” “We can’t imagine a worse case.” Therefore, the maximum penalty was the only option.

The case got rolling in 2022

The verdict is 15 years in prison and – due to the dangerousness prognosis – placement in a forensic therapeutic center. The man also has to pay more than 43,000 euros in partial compensation. The public prosecutor’s office made no statement and the defendant announced legal remedies. The judgment is therefore not legally binding.

The case only got rolling in 2022, when the US authority National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, to which suspected cases are reported by internet platforms, reported the matter to Austria. Originally it was about depictions of child abuse in cloud storage. In the course of the investigation, it emerged that the man from the Vöcklabruck district probably also commissioned women in the Philippines to abuse small children and babies in front of a running web camera between 2017 and 2022. According to the public prosecutor’s office, 150,000 images and videos were recovered from confiscated data storage media.

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