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The horror on the net: child pornography trial

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Andreas G. was sitting at his computer when a special police unit stormed his apartment in the Paderborn district on April 13, 2021. Only a few seconds, then the 49-year-old is overwhelmed. Even more important: G. doesn’t manage to lock his computer.

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That’s what the officials care about. They bring G. into the kitchen, employees of the Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA) start securing evidence on the computer. It is the beginning of the end of one of the largest international dark web child pornography platforms, its name: Boystown.

The portal has more than 400,000 user accounts and cannot be found using normal internet search engines. In the virtual realm of shadows, pedophiles exchange photos and videos with each other, some of which show the most severe sexual abuse of children – preferably boys. The alleged leadership team, four men, are all German. For several months, the BKA observed them, monitored their phone calls and documented the distribution of photos and videos.

There is an overwhelming risk of re-offending

Psychiatrist Sven Krimmer in court

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Andreas G., sitting on the kitchen floor with a bloody nose, learns what the investigators already know about him. He cooperates. When a message from Alexander G., another Boystown administrator, flashes on his cell phone, he follows the police officers’ instructions.

He answers as if nothing had happened. A little later, the BKA arrested Alexander G. in the district of Mühldorf am Inn and confiscated computers, hard drives, USB sticks and mobile phones there as well. A server is also secured, which the IT technician had operated from the basement of a customer – a church child and youth welfare facility, of all things. The officers found Fritz K. in a Hamburg retirement home.

When the police arrive, the 66-year-old is active on Boystown. The visually impaired man does not resist. Christian K., the fourth in the group, originally from northern Germany, is arrested in Paraguay and a few months later extradited to Germany at his own request. Andreas G., Alexander G., Fritz K. and Christian K. have been in custody since their arrest.

400

pages is the indictment long

The trial against the Boystown masterminds began in mid-September at the district court in Frankfurt am Main. The indictment is more than 400 pages long. To protect the victims, the public was temporarily excluded from the reading. Alexander G. and Christian K. are said to have been in charge of building up the pedophile forum from mid-2019.

Just like them, Andreas G. was one of the administrators. Fritz K. was one of the most active users. All of the defendants are accused of possessing and distributing child pornographic photos, videos and writings, Andreas G. and Alexander G. also of serious sexual abuse of children.

You are threatened with subsequent preventive detention

Five victims, including Andreas G.’s nephew, are represented by lawyers as joint plaintiffs. Two experts give assessments of criminal responsibility and the risk that the accused could relapse. Even if they behaved cooperatively after the arrest, the men are threatened with subsequent preventive detention.

Everyday life on Boystown was defined by a clear hierarchy, headed by administrators and moderators. The following rules applied to contributions: Please only videos and pictures of boys, not small children, and please no physical violence – as if child abuse is not violence per se.

In addition to naked pictures, everyday photos of children also circulated on Boystown, apparently found and copied on the public Instagram or Facebook accounts of unsuspecting parents. For material that was particularly successful in the eyes of the pedophiles, users were even awarded medals in recognition. According to the BKA, Fritz K., who called himself “Putzy” in the forum, was one of the 40 most active Boystown users. Andreas G. aka “Phantom” is accused of 79 distribution acts, including evidence of his own acts of abuse.

The suffering of the defenseless

Andreas G. and Alexander G. in particular have made extensive confessions. They provided insights and explanations as to how it can happen that people ignore the suffering of the vulnerable in order to live out their sexuality.

Alexander G., a man with thick, silver-grey hair and a pointed nose, has said in several interviews that he himself was abused by his stepfather. He repeated the martyrdom in a biological son and a stepson, even filming and sharing the videos.

“There is an extremely high risk of renewed crimes,” says psychiatrist Sven Krimmer in court about the Bavarian. An expert has already recommended preventive detention after detention for Andreas G., who, among other things, sexually abused his nephew and distributed photos and videos of it.

I want to make a clean sweep

Andreas G. Defendant

The burly East Westphalian, with a full beard and always in a short white shirt, had spoken out on one of the first days of the trial and asked his victims for forgiveness: “I want to make a clean sweep.” A futile wish, considering the lifelong suffering of the victims.

The fact that, according to the Frankfurt public prosecutor’s office, investigations are currently underway against other Boystown users is partly thanks to Andreas G. When he was arrested, he drew the police’s attention to the fact that the Darknet platform’s server had a so-called dead man’s switch.

A special action must be taken every 24 hours, he warned, otherwise all Boystown data would be irretrievably encrypted. Andreas G. thus prevented the destruction of traces and evidence. After the arrest of the leadership team and the backup and evaluation of all data, the BKA and the Boystown public prosecutor switched off.

The public prosecutor’s office does not want to reveal how exactly the investigators got the technical clues to the backers in the Darknet. “Anyone who makes themselves punishable should not feel safe, not even on the Darknet,” says a spokeswoman.

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Source: Tagesspiegel

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