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Student prosecuted for reading porn to kids

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13:33 CEST+02:00
A student at Sweden's Dramatic Institute (DI) who read a pornographic novel to a group of six year olds has been charged with sexual harassment.

The children had been invited to participate as the audience in a theatre project run by students at DI in January entitled "Love & Sexuality".

While the accompanying teacher was out of the room, a male student from DI read from a text which graphically depicted "two small girls" having oral sex while a woman watched. A similar story followed involving two boys.

"In my opinion it was indecent and offensive to read the passages to the six year olds," said vice chief prosecutor Birgitta Tholander Werne.

"The text was very provocative. I have not used the phrase "pornographic text" but you could say that that's what it was."

She maintains that the children were completely unprepared for the material.

"They thought they were going to hear a story and then came this text," she said.

All of the parents of the 16 children have been contacted, and three of the children were interviewed by police.

"More than half of the children, according to the parents, reacted by saying it was "disgusting" or "a stupid story". But some children have not reacted," said Birgitta Tholander Werne.

She said that the prosecution is the first of its kind and will set a precedent in the area of what kind of material a child can be exposed to by an adult.

"I have found legal cases where adults are exposed to different types of statements with sexual implications. I haven't found anything relating to children so there are many questions which the court will have to test."

The student himself denies having committed any crime.

The pornographic reading and other controversial elements of the theatre project have already been the subject of an inquiry by the National Agency for Higher Education and DI's own external investigator, Bengt Westerberg.

Both strongly criticised DI for not having given the students adequate preparation and supervision.

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TT/The Local

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