Pre-school employee jailed for child rape
Published: 19 Jan 2013 11:48 GMT+01:00
The man has in recent years been employed at several pre-schools in Malmö in southern Sweden, where the attacks are reported to have occurred.
The man stood accused of having assaulted four children, including one charge of having raped a four-year-old girl.
The trial concerned the aggravated rape of the girl and the aggravated sexual assault charges against three others, as well as the assault of a fifth.
The man was convicted on the rape count, but was acquitted on two of the sexual assault charges, while he was convicted on a reduced charge of sexual molestation in one of the cases.
The prosecutor sought a prison term of six years, but the court ruled for a shorter sentence of four years and three months.
"Cases of this nature are always difficult to preside over," the judge Thed Adelswärd said in a written statement.
"In sexual offences cases in general there are often no witnesses or any decisive forensic evidence. Neither was there in this case. The outcome is thus to a great extent determined by how the court deems the injured party's testimony to be."
Adelswärd added that this case was complicated further by the fact that the injured parties were children and that their testimony was presented in the form of taped police interviews.
One of the man's lawyers, Claes Kronström, stated on Friday that there was a "very high likelihood" that the ruling would be appealed.
The 32-year-old has protested his innocence throughout the trial and Kronström pointed to the lack of forensic evidence or witnesses.
"The district court has placed its faith in the children's testimony, it has been a word against word situation. But our position is that the children's testimonies are not sufficient," he said.
The children were awarded a total of 150,000 kronor ($23,000) in damages.