The 57-year-old man, named only as Karl D., was released into the care of his brother who lives in Heinsberg, despite warnings from the Munich state prosecutor that he was a danger to society and likely to offend again.
A district councillor Hendrik Pusch then warned the residents of the Randerath district of their new neighbour, prompting daily demonstrations, described by some as a potential lynch mob.
Pictures of the man have been posted around the area, while demonstrators’ placards have included phrases such as “Out with the child abuser” and “You’re safe for now. We know what you look like.”
At the weekend members of the neo Nazi NPD party showed up in the area and took part in the evening demonstration – a very unwelcome development, village official Heinz Franken told The Local on Tuesday.
“I am appealing to people to remain calm, to let peace return to our area and to allow the justice system to do its job,” he said.
“There is no danger from this man, he is being watched around the clock by policemen. There is no way he can go out and do anything. He has the right to return here and the justice system will decide whether he can stay; that is their job.”
He said the NPD were not welcome, adding that he did not expect them to return. “The situation has calmed down somewhat,” he said.
Karl D. was jailed in 1994 for torturing and raping two girls. Ten years previously he had abused and raped a 17-year-old. He gave an interview to Spiegel TV where he said, “No-one has reason to be scared of me.” He said he was not a time bomb and added that he was constantly monitored.
But he acknowledged that he could probably not stay much longer with his brother in Heinsberg. “I don’t believe I can stay here with my brother,” he said. “It’s impossible. It is terrible for my brother, he is at the end of his tether.”
However, he cannot simply move – the authorities would have to approve any change of residency. There are also two court cases still running concerning Karl D., which could result in him being returned to prison.