Man charged with abuse of disabled students
Published: 22 Mar 2012 15:08 GMT+01:00
Updated: 23 Mar 2012 06:18 GMT+01:00
A teaching assistant who allegedly sexually molested students 15 times at a school for children with learning difficulties in Sweden was charged on Wednesday.
The sexual assaults took place at a school near Uppsala, eastern Sweden, from 2008 until November 2011, when he was suspended from the school.
He was allegdly behind five rapes, six cases of sexual coercion, and four of sexual molestation, over half of which took place on school grounds. It is reported that the assaults occurred in a training hall, in the school, and in the swimming area.
“The grounds for rape and sexual coercion are due to the fact that he abused the students who were in a helpless situation,” said prosecutor Annika Bokefors to TT news agency.
The three victims of the abuse, who today are aged between 18 and 20 years, were responsible for bringing the crime to the attention of authorities after telling their families about the school employee's actions. The school reported the man after receiving their reports.
The man, 40, denies the charges.
According to the indictment, the teaching assistant abused two female students and one male, one of whom could not be heard in court due to their disability.
In an open letter to the media, the parents have begged for respect and consideration.
“It is especially painful for us that the charged man has abused their position of dependence. Our children have had to struggle with their bad lives because of their various disabilities, and now they filled with confusion and insecurity,” they wrote.
“The police who have held the preliminary investigations have treated our children with great respect and have suited their working methods to our children’s disabilities”.
The trial is set to begin in Uppsala on April 2nd and is expected to last eight days.
The suspect was arrested on January 9th, and has been in police custody since January 12th.