'Paedophile warning' note baffles Swedish town
Published: 20 Nov 2012 13:31 GMT+01:00
Updated: 20 Nov 2012 13:31 GMT+01:00
Several residents in Örebro, central Sweden, were shocked when they sorted through their post recently and found a detailed account of a child sex crime committed by one of their neighbours.
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“Warning! This paedophile lives close to you and your children,” read the front page of the five-page document which held no information about the sender.
It contained extracts from district and Supreme Court proceedings pertaining to the case, reports local newspaper Nerikes Allehanda (NA).
The crime for which the man was convicted took place in the 1990s and resulted in a three-year prison sentence.
Having the crime described in detail led some residents in the central Sweden town to question the purpose of the handout.
“The crime that this person was convicted of was grotesque, but the sentence has been served and maybe they wanted to start over. For me, the question is when have you atoned your crime?” Susanne Engvall told the newspaper.
Some neighbours expressed concern that revealing so much detail about the crime was unfair to the victim.
Others, however, welcomed the handout.
”When it comes to sexual assault it’s good that the neighbours are informed,” resident Magnus Rådberg told the paper.
No one has so far contacted the local police office about the letter, duty officer Dan Sööder at the Örebro police told The Local.
“We cannot follow up on this case unless a person who is affected, either the victim or the convicted person, reports this to us as a case of defamation,” he said.
Last year, a site listing the names of convicted paedophiles was investigated by the authorities for violating Sweden's data protection laws.
It informed those listed on the site that they could have their names removed in exchange for them accepting chemical castration.
The site’s owner told the tabloid Aftonbladet that he was motivated to spread the information because he believed Sweden was not strict enough on sex offenders.
That site has now been replaced by a blog.
Convicted paedophiles are banned from working in schools and daycare facilities in Sweden. A few cases of the Swedish courts granting custody to a parent despite prior convictions have raised eyebrows and prompted calls to review the system.
In 2005, Liberal Party MP Johan Pehrson asked then Justice Minister Thomas Bodström to introduce legislation that requires known sex offenders to register with local authorities if they move within Sweden.
“I still feel we urgently need to make sure that convicted paedophiles remain in contact with the authorities, in particular social services and local police, so they can be given support and continued care,” Pehrson told The Local.
“I understand that people want to know what goes on behind closed doors in their neighborhood,” he said, “but this case in Örebro is tragic, we have no idea what prompted a person to cut and paste court documents together and send them out.”
“It isn’t helpful in the offender’s rehabilitation and it won’t protect anyone’s child,” Pehrson said.
"Although it is still my opinion that the authorities need to do more follow up.”