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Paedophile case Child sex offender given 13-year sentence



The accused during his trial that lasted a week

The accused during his trial that lasted a week

(Keystone)

A 57-year-old care worker has been sentenced to 13 years prison and stationary measures (see below) by a Bern court in what has been Switzerland’s biggest and most notorious child sex abuse case.

The man was found guilty of rape and sexual abuse of children and dependents at a number of institutions. The prosecution had demanded 15 years followed by lifelong internment. The court turned down the request for internment, saying it could only be considered if other measures failed.

The presiding judge said the number of cases was “extreme”, as well as the length of time over which they occurred. He added that while he was reviewing the evidence, he had wondered how the accused had managed to commit so many crimes without being detected.

It was not until 2010, when two residents living in a centre for the disabled told their parents of the abuse they had suffered, that the care worker was arrested. 

The man later admitted abusing more than 100 children and adults with physical and mental disabilities over 29 years until his crimes came to light.

Evidence against the man, who was employed as a care worker in eight Swiss residential homes for the mentally disabled, included photos and hours of video in which he recorded the abuse.

Thirty-three counts of abuse of mentally and physically disabled children and adults were before the court. The remainder of the cases – 91 further victims – passed the statute of limitations for prosecution before the change to the law in 2008.

On May 18, Swiss voters will decide whether to ban convicted paedophiles from working with children for life.

Stationary measures

In this case, so-called stationary measures refer to therapy that takes place on an in-patient basis during the offender’s prison sentence, either in a psychiatric clinic or a prison.

These measures aim to protect society from seriously psychologically disturbed offenders while offering appropriate treatment or care to the offender in a secure setting so that the risk of re-offending can be assessed.

Stationary measures generally last five years, at which point the outcome is reviewed and the arrangement may be extended for a further five years if the person does not meet the requirements for conditional release.

Such measures are sometimes imposed as an alternative to lifelong detention which is reserved for dangerous criminals who are deemed to be beyond therapy, a sentence the prosecution called for in the Bern paedophile case.

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swissinfo.ch and agencies

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