Swedish brothers convicted of more than 1,000 rapes of children

Swedish brothers convicted of more than 1,000 rapes of children
Ångermanland District Court. Photo: Fredrik Sandberg/TT
Two brothers in northern Sweden have been jailed for sexually abusing five children aged between three and 14 on more than 1,000 occasions over a period of eight years.

The brothers, both Swedish nationals in their mid-30s, targeted children who were bullied in school or had a difficult life at home, sometimes with offers of drugs, alcohol and money, Ångermanland District Court heard.

The oldest brother was found guilty of at least 580 cases of aggravated child rape and at least 500 cases of aggravated sexual exploitation of a minor, according to the almost 200-page verdict seen by The Local. 

The younger brother was found guilty of at least 500 child rapes and at least 50 cases of aggravated sexual exploitation of a minor, with his victims including four children.

Sweden classifies 'child rape' as sexual intercourse or acts considered to be the equivalent thereof with a person younger than 15, whether or not violence was used. The definition became codified in Swedish law on April 1st 2005. The court therefore classified crimes committed before that as sexual exploitation of minors.

Unlike many other countries, Swedish authorities record each case of sexual violence as a separate incident, even if it involves the same victim.

According to the verdict the crimes were carried out between the years 2001 and 2009 in Trelleborg, southern Sweden, and Sollefteå in northern Sweden where the brothers are currently resident.

When the men were arrested in March this year, police found more than 250 hours of video footage and more than 5,000 indecent images of children in their home. Some of the material was of some of the rape victims.

The brothers often played video games and roleplay games together with the children, alternating the games with sexual acts. The abuse became “normalized”, the court wrote in the verdict. If a child was hesitant, the older brother in some cases is said to have offered them cannabis, alcohol and money.

One of the victims said he saw the older man as a role model and “hero”. He did not want to lose him as a friend and “felt bad” to say no to sex. Another, who was bullied in school and had problems at home, said he thought of his time with the brothers as “a safe haven”.

The older brother was on Friday sentenced to 14 years in jail, the toughest punishment in Sweden for that type of crime. It sentenced the younger brother to 12 years, partly because he was convicted of fewer offences and partly because he was under the age of 21 when some of them were committed.

They were also ordered to pay damages totalling 2.94 million kronor (approximately $350,000) to the victims.

The men admitted a limited number of the charges, but denied the majority of them. The younger man's lawyer told the TT news agency that he assumed his client would want to appeal the verdict.