Cop fined for outing child sex offender

A Swedish police officer who blew the whistle on a convicted paedophile’s plans to start a youth education centre has himself been fined for defamation.

In the summer of 2007, policeman Kent Eriksen met the man in question and later learned that he had been sent to prison for molesting a 13-year-old boy.

Eriksen subsequently heard through an acquaintance that the same man was planning to open the education centre for young people.

“I began to look into it further and discovered the project was getting money from the Swedish Inheritance Fund,” he told The Local.

The government-administered Swedish Inheritance Fund (Arvsfonden) consists of unclaimed inheritances of deceased Swedes and was created in 1928 when the Riksdag abolished the right of inheritance for cousins and distant relatives.

Money from the Inheritance Fund is awarded to “non-profit organizations and other voluntary associations wishing to test new ideas for developing activities for children, young people and the disabled.”

Altogether, the convicted paedophile had received about 6 million kronor ($743,000) from the fund to launch an education centre for young people with special needs.

According to the Expressen newspaper, the man had been convicted for luring a 13-year-old boy from a public swimming pool with the promise of a chance to ride on the man’s motorcycle.

The man then took the boy to his home and sexually molested him. In the coming months, the man took the boy to his home and several occasions, where he had both oral and anal sex with the boy.

When police raided the man’s home, they found pictures of child pornography in the man’s computer as well as pornographic videos featuring children.

The man claimed the boy was lying about the abuse and that the child pornography in the apartment wasn’t his, but the court rejected the man’s claims.

While government officials were thankful to receive the police officer’s tip, and consequently cut off funding for the project, Eriksen’s attempt to be a Good Samaritan resulted in charges of defamation.

In its ruling, the Stockholm District Court noted that the sexual molestation charge was four years old and that Eriksen was unaware of the specifics of the case.

In addition, the convicted paedophile’s education centre was directed for young people over 18 years of age rather than children.

“Viewed objectively, therefore, it was not justifiable to bring the conviction to the attention of the Inheritance Fund,” wrote the court.

Eriksen was ordered to pay a total of 80,000 kronor, including attorney fees, compensation to the paedophile, interest, and a fine of 48,000 kronor.

As he is considering an appeal, Eriksen didn’t want to comment on the specifics of the ruling other than expressing his dissatisfaction with the court’s decision.

“I’m disappointed with the ruling, that’s for sure,” he said.

Nevertheless, he doesn’t regret his actions.

“If I had the same choice and the same information today, I would have acted in the exact same way,” he said.

“I’m convinced by my ideological and moral convictions that I did the right thing.”

Despite the court’s decision, Eriksen doesn’t feel that Swedish defamation laws should be changed to better protect whistleblowers.

“There’s nothing wrong with the laws themselves,” he said.

“As far as I’m concerned, I haven’t broken the law.”


Murder threats push women to self-censor

Threats of extreme violence, murder, and rape plague the lives of many women who work in the spotlight in Sweden, but police often fail to act on the threats in part because they are delivered via emails or posts in online discussion threads..

Murder threats push women to self-censor

A 21-year-old H&M customer who complained that the fashion store’s decision to print a t-shirt with an image of Tupac Shakur, a convicted sex offender, was inappropriate went to bed one night with her mobile pinging several times a minute, according to a Sveriges Television (SVT) report broadcast on Wednesday.

Her complaint on H&M’s Facebook page had attracted almost 3,000 comments, many of which said they wished the US singer was still alive to rape her or that they themselves would.

“Of all these people, maybe one means what he says, how can I know?” Julia, 21, told SVT’s investigative journalism programme Uppdrag Granskning.

Its reporters called several of the people who threatened her on Facebook.

“It was just an expression, I didn’t mean it literally, but she’s a retard,” one man said.

“Tupac’s dead so he can’t defend himself, so when she disses him, I have to diss him back for his sake,” one man said before apologizing to Julia.

Many of the commentators that were contacted said their posts were no less offensive than other people’s statements.

Julia filed a complaint to the police, hoping they would investigate whether the comments constituted illegal threats or defamation, as many posts threatened violence or called her a slut or a whore.

The police received the complaint and decided not to investigate the day after. A spokesman told the programme that he was not sure if his colleagues had looked at the Facebook comment thread.

The one-hour programme also spoke with several women in the public eye, including actor Andrea Edwards, author Åsa Linderborg, and editorial writer Ann-Charlotte Marteus.

In a minimalist take with the women before a black screen, they were filmed reading the threats verbatim. Cuss words abounded. Murder threats were common.

Many of the letters called the women ugly, fat and disgusting. Many served up graphic descriptions of how they would kill them. Some stated that their authors did not mind a few years in prison as a result.

Many of the women said that they received more threats than normally when they addressed rightwing groups or the Sweden Democrats.

“People like you are destroying Sweden,” was one comment to TV personality Karin Hübinette.

“It’s sad, but I self-censor,” admitted journalist Sanna Lundell.

“Sometimes I just don’t have the energy to report on topics that I know will trigger these kinds of comments.”

The Local/at

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