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Former MP Tauss sentenced for child porn

DPA/Kristen Allen · 28 May 2010, 15:18

Published: 28 May 2010 15:18 GMT+02:00

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Prosecutors convinced the judges that the 56-year-old had illegally possessed some 260 photos and 40 video clips containing child pornography between May 2007 and January 2009. The court also found that Tauss had sent five such photos and videos from his mobile phone during that time.

The defence did not deny Tauss possessed the illegal material, alleging instead he’d had it for work-related purposes for research about the scene. But the court found he had used it for personal interests.

“The overview shows that Tauss was not travelling through the virtual child pornography scene in fulfilment of his political duties, but out of private reasons,” lead Judge Udo Scholl told news agency DPA.

Tauss’ claims of special parliamentary exemption from the law were invalid, even if he was an expert in online criminality, the judge said.

“The same powers are valid for all parliamentarians,” he said. “This status equality forbids special rights for certain parliamentarians. The defendant knew what he did was forbidden and that no exception pertained to him. He’s not that naive.”

Scholl did concede that Tauss may not have possessed the illegal material out of sexual interest.

“It’s conceivable that he went into the child pornography scene out of curiosity,” he said.

The suspended sentence means that Tauss will serve no time in prison, but will have a criminal record.

“The defendant has been punished by the trial, and enough,” Scholl said.

But Tauss said he would appeal.

“This is a verdict that I can’t and don’t want to live with,” he said after the trial.

In September 2009 the Bundestag annulled Tauss’ parliamentary immunity, clearing the way for prosecutors to press charges.

After the scandal broke, Tauss’ lawyer criticised state prosecutors for staging a “public execution.”

But on Friday prosecutors said Tauss stood before the court “not as a parliamentarian, but as a private man.”

Story continues below…

After the investigation against him began, Tauss left the centre-left Social Democratic Party, for which he has been an MP since 1994. He then became the first and only member of the Pirate Party in the Bundestag until the general election last September.

The Pirate Party in Germany sees itself as representing those in the information technology community, campaigning for privacy protection as well as the loosening of copyright laws.

Pirate Party spokesman Simon Lange told The Local on Friday that the party would make no decisions about Tauss’ membership until they reviewed the court’s verdict.

“We got to know Tauss as a very responsible person who brought his political experience to our party, and we trust that he will make the right decision for himself and the party,” Lange said. “Right now it is up to him if he wants to leave the party.”

A statement by the party following the verdict called the trial a “bad sign of public prejudgement,” and said “questionable press work” by public prosecutors had severely hindered the rule of law and forced them to defend themselves against “nasty accusations” of being a “paedophile party.”

DPA/Kristen Allen (kristen.allen@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

15:40 May 28, 2010 by Portnoy
Homeslice not only collected child pornography, he also distributed it, even if at a minor level. Go ahead, pirate party, cry evil political persecution, but this dude confessed he had it and cruised around in the scene WITHOUT ever telling any law enforcement official (who would have told him to knock if off).

Sometimes you don't have to look for abstract meaning when the letter of the law will do. He was let off easy.

Piratenpartei: ihr sollt euch schaemen, though you've never really represented anything of substance anyway.
16:42 May 28, 2010 by Hebbellover
I always thought Europe had it right, when it came to protecting the innocent.
17:47 May 28, 2010 by JohnnesKönig
I cannot imagine that if any average person would have been given such a slap on the fanny for this type of offense. Are we to assume that justice has been served?

I like the Pirate party and I feel he hurts any credibility it may have. I do not agree with the assertion that porn of this nature comes anywhere close to what the Party hopes to achieve.
18:06 May 28, 2010 by xWolpertinger

The sentence for this as found in the criminal code is 3 months up to 5 years.

Given the atypical low amount of material we are talking about it is rather harsh actually.

The average person also wouldn't have had all these details dragged out in front of a Landgericht
18:38 May 28, 2010 by slawek
So did the police arrest the actual film makers and/or photographers? Did they also find and save the children? What will happen with the children now and who was responsible?
21:32 May 28, 2010 by Logic Guy
Well, it's unfortunate that so many adults are attracted to child porn. This seems to be an existential problmem for such people. Many social experts say there is no cure for this.

I do however disagree. I believe that with the appropriate Psychology, anyone can overcome any unethical and immoral behavior, permanently.
10:14 May 29, 2010 by dr.makni49
Logic Guy has almost said it. People having inclination to such indulgences, particularly homosexuality, that could be the next phase of the accused, have some special brain structure that the medical examination can detect. It would be fair to test him for such symptom and treat him for the future as well. We should remain in the mould of human being when we pass judgement about others caught in a turmoil. Only God is perfect.
10:12 May 30, 2010 by JohnnesKönig
@xWolpertinger I don't care what the guidelines are! he took part in a horrendous crime! However, I would approve of this if he could show some remorse by aiding in bringing the makers of such material to justice...
20:42 May 30, 2010 by Prufrock2010
dr. makni49 --

You wrote: "People having inclination to such indulgences, particularly homosexuality, that could be the next phase of the accused, have some special brain structure that the medical examination can detect. It would be fair to test him for such symptom and treat him for the future as well."

Particularly homosexuality? So you're one of those cure-the-gay-by-therapy-and-prayer nutjobs? Jesus H. Christ.
17:59 May 31, 2010 by Turdbiscuit
They will just be pushed to networks like Freenet and/or Tor (like people trading movies/warez) - and the cops have no ability to monitor activity on these networks.


14:53 June 1, 2010 by dr.makni49
Yes Prufrock2010,

Only those who commit offense or step forward voluntarily before commiting an offense could be placed in the treatment category. Some willing to stay declared gay may be exceptions till they repent. While in some part of the world, laws permits, even gay marriages, on the whole the habbit doesnot find approval or does it?
08:41 June 28, 2010 by tyciol
slawek asks good questions. I don't quite understand going after media possessors when presumably the harm is being done by the people doing whatever it is that is on the movies, they should be targeted. Cleaning up videos for reasons of personal privacy is something that only makes sense after you have rescued someone.
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