Investigators in several European countries have arrested eight suspects following the alleged rape of a nine-year-old. The investigation will focus on the 47-year-old mother of the boy and her 37-year-old partner, the public prosecutor's office in Freiburg announced on Thursday. Both lived near Freiburg. They are said to have sexually abused the child together and made him available to other men for rape in exchange for money.
The boy has been freed by the authorities and is now in state care.
This is the most serious case of sexual abuse of a child ever handled by the State Criminal Police Office of Baden-Württemberg, a spokesman for the authority said. The dimensions of the crime go beyond any case that has previously been investigated in the state, he added.
The boy was repeatedly abused and raped by several perpetrators at several crime scenes in and around Freiburg. There are other victims besides the boy. Among them is a girl who had been sexually abused by her own father. He has also been arrested.
Police reportedly launched the investigation last September following an anonymous tip-off. Among the suspects is a 49-year-old Bundeswehr soldier, who was arrested in his barracks in the French region of Alsace.
The other men in custody were between 32 and 43 years old. According to the investigators, they come from near Freiburg, Schleswig-Holstein, Switzerland and Spain. Some of them have previous convictions for similar offences. According to sources, some of the suspects have cooperated with investigators. The public prosecutor's office has not given any further details.