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Swedish police in major paedophile sting

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12:12 CEST+02:00
A man in Uppland in central Sweden is suspected of raping a minor and exploiting more than 70 young girls who were coerced into exposing themselves on the internet. The police investigation has been described as the largest of its kind in Sweden to date.

The man, who is reported to come from the county of Uppland, north of Stockholm, is in his thirties.

He is suspected of having exploited as many as 70 girls, according to local newspaper Uppsala Nya Tidning (UNT).

"The investigation has grown exponentially. I do not know of any other case with this scope," said the prosecutor Thomas Bälter Nordenman to the newspaper.

The suspect is alleged to have used threats to coerce the girls, many of whom were under 15-years-old, to strip and carry out sexual acts in front of a web camera.

The case became the subject of an investigation in the autumn, when the man was reported for having raped a 14-year-old girl. The girl also reported to police that she had been coerced into performing sexual acts in front of a web camera.

The IP address was traced, the man was arrested, and police managed to recover 1,500 chat conversations with various girls. A wealth of tip-offs lead to the identification of the large number of girls.

The prosecutor hopes to charge the man in May for, among other things, rape of a child, sexual coercion and aggravated sexual exploitation of children.

"I am going to seek a long custodial sentence," said Thomas Bälter Nordenman to UNT.

The suspect, who has been in custody for four months, confirmed through his lawyer that he denies the charges.

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