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Police investigate sexual abuse at summer camp

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Police investigate sexual abuse at summer camp
A file photo of Ameland. Photo: DPA
11:32 CEST+02:00
Police in the northern German city of Osnabrück said on Wednesday they were investigating allegations of sexual abuse among youths at a summer camp on the Dutch island of Ameland.

Up to eight teenagers aged 13 to 16 are suspected of violently abusing several 13-year-old boys at the holiday camp sponsored by Osnabrück's municipal sports association.

The Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung reported on Wednesday that six boys were repeatedly attacked by a group of youths, who forced the victims into the middle of a dormitory before sexual abusing them with unnamed objects.

The children apparently tried to turn to camp counsellors during the two-week holiday from June 25 to July 8, but for unknown reasons adults failed to intervene. The newspaper said further attacks were avoided only after the victims aggressively defended themselves, refused to be dragged from their beds, or fled down the building's fire escape.

“We are still investigating and are closely checking what sort of responsibility the counsellors might have,” said a police spokesman.

Around 100 children attended the holiday camp in Buren on the island. The incident came to light only after a mother of one child contacted the police after his return.

Wolfgang Wellmann, the head of the Stadtsportbund Osnabrück, said on Wednesday he was shocked by the alleged abuse.

“We are seriously overwhelmed by what happened there and we are unbelievably sorry,” he said. “I just can't comprehend that none of the participants went into the dunes with their mobile and called to expose what was going on.”

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