South-west German town rocked by child sex abuse allegations

South-west German town rocked by child sex abuse allegations
The picturesque town of Staufen, where the abuse is said to have occurred. Image: DPA
A scout leader in the small Baden-Württemberg town of Staufen is being investigated for alleged sexual abuse. The man is said to have abused four victims “up to 400 times”.

The mother of one of the alleged victims brought a complaint in February, telling police that her son was sexually abused by a volunteer caretaker when aged between nine and eleven.

DPA reports that three other victims, also from the scout group, have been identified. The police have set up a 12-person task force to investigate the abuses. The suspect, a 41-year-old man from the town, has been arrested and taken into custody. 

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The man was previously the subject of a sexual abuse investigation for alleged activities between 2004 and 2007, but was later acquitted due to a lack of evidence. 

The abuse of two of the alleged victims is said to have taken place between 2009 and 2013, while the other two are said to have been abused between 2014 and 2018. 

'Very manipulative'

Police suggest that the man was “very manipulative” in abusing his power as a scout leader, spending time with the children and giving them gifts before engaging in the sexual activity.

Investigators allege that the man told the children the acts were “completely normal”. 

“We cannot rule out the possibility that there are more victims”, the investigators told DPA. So far more than 100 children have been interviewed. 

“We’ve tried to build a bridge between ourselves and the possibly traumatized children and adolescents,” said Mathias Kaiser, the head of the investigation team. 

“Not everyone is ready to cross this bridge and open up.”

A second set of allegations from the same scout group

While early indications are that the accused acted alone, another man from the scout group is also being investigated in relation to separate abuse allegations.

In that case, a female victim has come forward to indicate that she had been abused seven years ago while aged between 13 and 14.

Police have indicated that the second suspect is currently ‘at large’, with investigators unaware of his whereabouts. 

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