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PAEDOPHILIA

23 women charged after child porn sting

A Swedish prosecutor filed charges Friday against 24 people for possessing and distributing child pornography, in a case that has drawn widespread attention as all but one of the defendants are women.

23 women charged after child porn sting

The only man, 42-year-old Lars Skoglund, was considered the ringleader who had distributed large quantities of pornographic material featuring children to the women, who are aged between 38 and 70, according to the charge sheet.

When Skoglund was arrested last September, he was in the possession of 1,181 still shots and 40 films considered child pornography.

“One hundred and fifteen of the pictures and 37 of the films show children who are either very young, who are the victims of violence or coercion or being used in a particularly ruthless manner,” the charge sheet reads.

Skoglund, who could face up to six years behind bars if found guilty of aggravated child pornography crimes, appears to have come in contact with the 23 women in internet chat rooms and gradually convinced them to accept files containing child pornography.

He “has tested the limits, how far the others would go. He first goes from (chatting about) sex to sex with excrements, sex with animals and after a while … sex with children,” prosecutor Niclas Eltenius told journalists at a press conference in the central Swedish town of Falun broadcasted on public radio.

A number of the women had claimed that they had not wanted to download the files, but the prosecution claims transcripts of their chat room conversations with Skoglund show they willingly participated in the exchange.

Skoglund had saved some 5,000 chat logs dating back to 2004 that are being used as evidence in the case.

The women, several of whom had short-lived sexual relationships with the 42-year-old, did not have large quantities of the illicit material in their possession — ranging between six and 71 files each.

They were therefore only charged with the lower level of child pornography crimes, Eltenius said, pointing out that “this can carry a penalty of up to two years in prison.”

Psychologist Elisabeth Kwarnmark who has worked with sex offenders for many years has never before come across a case involving so many women.

However, she says that the driving force behind doesn’t have to be sexual attraction to children.

“It seems to have begun with the man. Then they have been looking at these pictures together to heighten the excitement. It seems to be less about paedophilia and more a question of stretching the limits,” she told news agency TT.

“You want to please the other party, who keeps moving the boundaries. It stems from the women’s low self-esteem and feelings of powerlessness. They felt validated by doing this,” Kwarnmark said to TT.

The case is set to go to trial at the Falun district court in the second half of this year.

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EUROPEAN UNION

Sweden joins global anti-child porn alliance

Representatives from Sweden and 46 other countries will meet in Brussels on Wednesday to coordinate efforts to combat child pornography.

Sweden joins global anti-child porn alliance

EU countries, as well as the US, Japan and Australia, will form the Global Alliance against Child Sex Abuse Online.

EU Home Affairs Commissioner Cecilia Malmström and US Attorney General Eric Holder are the driving forces of the initiative.

They jointly addressed the topic in an op-ed in the Dagens Nyheter (DN) newspaper on Tuesday.

Joint police investigations have resulted in the arrest of more than 300 people in the past two years, they wrote.

There are suspects in over 30 countries.

“The fact that child abusers seem to operate globally, disregarding national borders, is a reality that we must face,” Malmström and Holder wrote.

The alliance wants to find offenders and their victims, while also reducing the availability of child porn across the world.

A second aim is to raise public awareness of the risks children face when they are online.

Furthermore, the alliance states that it will ensure the assistance of child porn victims and provide them with support and protection.

“All efforts to monitor child pornography are of course good, and this initiative is really important,” National Bureau of Investigation (Rikskriminalen) inspector Björn Sellström told the TT news agency.

As child pornography is internet-based, cross-border cooperation is much needed, said Sellström.

“If we have a Swedish offender who gets in touch with a victim in Sweden but through American social media, then that site will ask us to get a court order before we can access information about the offender,” he said.

“It means it can take a really long time to investigate.”

The alliance also wants all countries to ban convicted sex offenders from working with children and teenagers.

TT/The Local/og

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