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Swedish court jails internet paedophile

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13:37 CET+01:00
A 36-year-old man in southern Sweden charged 39 counts of committing sex crimes against 30 young girls has been sentenced to three and a half years in prison.

One charge of grooming, or having contact with children for sexual purposes, was dropped.

The man first made contact with the girls through letters while serving a two-year prison sentence for child rape.

The contact then progressed to the internet. The man pretended to be much younger and of royal desecent, thus persuading the girls to perform various sexual acts in front of the webcam, the local Helsingborgs Dagblad (HD) newspaper reported.

The slew of charges include one case of child rape, three cases of gross exploitation of children for sexual posing, five cases of exploitation of children for sexual posing, seven cases of attempted exploitation of a child for sexual posing and twenty three cases of sexual molestation.

Helsingborg District Court Judge Lars-Olle Larsson did not think it was difficult to rule in light of the multitude of charges.

"The trial has been comprehensive and there has been a lot to keep a track of and a delicate task to go through everything. But the charges alone were not difficult to take a position on," Larsson told the TT news agency.

The case was the first which dealt with Sweden's anti-grooming law, which came into force in July 2009.

But the district court dismissed the grooming charge, defined as having contact with children for sexual purposes, after the plaintiff testified that she never intended to meet the accused.

“If someone is to be convicted for having contact with children for sexual purposes, it's necessary that both parties involved have the shared intention to meet," Larsson explained to TT.

Because the man still had eight months remaining on his previous conviction for raping a 13-year-old girl, he is actually facing four years and two months of jail time.

The perpetrator also was ordered to pay 385,000 kronor ($55,200) in compensation.

Prosecutor Charlotte Österlund pressed for a six-year prison term and wanted the 36-year-old to be convicted for aggravated sexual posing.

The court determined, however, that cases could only be considered a aggravated when the sexual posing and the circumstances around the posing would have led to ruthless exploitation of the child.

The 30 young plaintiffs in the case were between nine and 16-years-old when the man came into contact with them.

According to the charges, he molested them and encouraged them to perform sexual acts in front of a webcam. He also had sexual intercourse with a 14-year-old girl in her home.

The man, having been in custody since October, denied the crimes and underwent a psychiatric evaluation. He was cleared from any serious mental illness.

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