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CRIME

Spanish paedophile jailed in Freiburg for ‘buying’ boy online

A German court on Monday jailed a Spanish man for 10 years for repeatedly sexually abusing a young boy whose mother and stepfather sold him to paedophiles online.

Spanish paedophile jailed in Freiburg for 'buying' boy online
Javier Gonzalez Diaz in court in Monday. Photo: DPA

In a case that horrified Germany, the defendant Javier Gonzalez D. was convicted by the regional court in Freiburg of “14 counts of aggravated sexual assault, one count of rape and one count of bodily harm while making child pornography,” judge Stefan Buergelin said.

The 33-year-old was also ordered to pay €18,000 ($20,800) to the young victim.

Prosecutors had demanded a 12-year prison sentence.

The verdict against the mother and stepfather in the case, which police have called one of the most atrocious they have investigated, is expected on Tuesday.

Berrin T. and Christian L., both German nationals, stand accused of rape, aggravated sexual assault of children, forced prostitution and distribution of child pornography.

They are accused of having sexually assaulted the boy — who was nine when their trial began in June — as well as pimping him on the so-called darknet for more than two years.

Beyond a conviction and prison sentence, prosecutors are seeking preventive detention of the two due to the seriousness of the alleged crimes.

The stepfather has a previous conviction for paedophilia.

The case came to light following an anonymous tip last September, and led to the arrest of eight people who have been charged with belonging to an online paedophile ring.

Three of those arrested have now been convicted.

During the trial of the related cases, the stepfather admitted on the witness stand to the assaults on the boy.

He also made serious accusations against the child's mother.

The boy is in state care.

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CATHOLIC CHURCH

Spain’s ombudsman reports little ‘enthusiasm’ from Church in abuse inquiry

There is little “enthusiasm” within Spain’s Catholic Church for the ongoing investigation into child sexual abuse by its clergy, the country’s ombudsman, who is leading the probe, said on Tuesday.

Spain's ombudsman reports little 'enthusiasm' from Church in abuse inquiry

Set up by Spain’s parliament, the independent commission has since July been looking into allegations of the abuse of minors within the Church.

The panel, which is made up of 20 people — mostly experts but no representatives of the Church — has so far heard from 230 victims.

“I have not noticed great enthusiasm within many circles of the Church” for this investigation, ombudsman Angel Gabilondo told a forum.

He said he had been speaking to the Episcopal Conference, which groups the country’s leading bishops, “from the start” and had encouraged them to become part of the investigatory commission.

But they said “there were things that made it difficult for them to participate in the group” but that they “would cooperate” with its work, he said.

The initial idea was that members of the clergy would be on the committee, but the Spanish Church said it would not directly participate although it would cooperate with the authorities.

It has said the commission should be looking into all cases involving the abuse of minors within Spanish society and not just within the Catholic Church.

Unlike in many other nations where the government or the Church itself has opened an investigation into such abuses, Spain has only recently made moves to follow suit.

The independent commission will submit its findings to parliament when it has completed its investigation.

There is no deadline for completing the report.

Long accused by victims of stonewalling and denial, the Spanish Church in February tasked a private law firm with an “audit” into past and present sexual abuse by the clergy, teachers and others associated with the Church.

With no official statistics on child sex abuse within the Church, El Pais newspaper began investigating allegations in 2018.

It has so far counted nearly 1,600 victims.

In March, the Church said it had discovered more than 500 cases of child sex abuse in Spain through a complaints procedure launched in 2020.

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