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'Babyface' rapist placed in institutional care

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11:14 CEST+02:00
A 16-year-old boy who committed 15 sexual offences in Gothenburg in the autumn, including two rapes, is to be placed in secure institutional care after being diagnosed with a mental illness.

Described as the "babyface rapist", he committed a string of sexual attacks in Gothenburg last autumn while living at an institutional youth care facility.

The youth facility has made no changes in its operations, however.

On Thursday, the Gothenburg district court convicted the boy on two counts of rape, two attempted rapes, nine counts of sexual assault and numerous other crimes.

At the time of the attacks, which took place over a 10-week span last autumn, the now 16-year-old was serving time at the Fagared institutionalized youth care facility and taking part in an apprentice programme at a car repair shop located near where the victims lived, the Göteborgs-Posten (GP) newspaper reported last autumn.

During his lunch breaks, the youth would hop on his bicycle to nearby residential areas, follow women up to their apartments, ring their doorbells and sexually assault them.

Several of the women the teen attacked had difficulties defending themselves because they were ill, or in one case, suffered from a disability.

Staff at the apprentice programme were to report any absences to the youth facility, but failed to do so.

"Staff knew that they boy had been out running errands for the manager, but not that he was out without permission," Ingvor Gunnarsson, regional head of the Swedish National Board of Institutional Care (Statens institutionsstyrelse - Sis), told news agency TT.

She didn't want to place any blame on the staff at the car repair shop.

She believes that in the future social workers will be more explicit about the requirement to report youth who do not show up for work placement.

She said it is the institution's mission to help young reacclimatize to society, but when things go wrong it's an obvious reaction to say that these youth should not be allowed to participate in outside apprenticeships.

"But at the same time, research shows that the more we lock them up, the worse the outcomes are," Gunnarsson said.

It is at the end of the treatment that a young person can receive an apprenticeship, which has the goal of reintegrating them into the larger community.

When asked if it had been too early for the 16-year-old boy be placed in an apprenticeship, Gunnarsson said that it was easy to say yes in hindsight.

"We try to make predictions based on the behaviours we observe. But it is extremely difficult when someone begins to commit crimes of a different nature than he did previously," she said.

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