Prosecutor Robert Näppi said he was surprised by the decision.
“They were with each other intensively for at least three months,” he said to TT.
“It’s senseless that the court gives credibility to his story that he thought she was 16 years old. I am certainly going to appeal.”
The pair met when the girl put a picture of herself on the web site ‘Snyggast.se’ [Cutest]. The girl claimed that she said she was 13 but the man maintained that she said she was 16. He said he was 19.
They began to meet up and that quickly led to a sexual relationship. The man offered her alcohol and bought her gifts of underwear and cuddly toys.
The man denied that they had sex with each other but the court believed the girl’s claims that they had – partly because she had told her friends about their sexual activities.
“There has been a question about a mutual relationship, two young people in a love affair,” wrote the court in its judgement.
“This is not about an adult with paedophile interests but a young and slightly weak lad who’s a favourite with the girls.”
Had the prosecutor been able to prove that the 22 year old knew the girl was only 13, he could have been found guilty of the new crime of child rape, or sexual abuse of a child.
But in the court’s view it was his word against hers, and from the girl’s general appearance it was easy to believe that she was older than she really was. This was also evident from her attempts to get in contact with older boys, said the court.
However, the court added that it was “hard to understand” why the man had lied about his own age and pretended he was a couple of years younger than he was.