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Germany

Father makes surprise confession in child abuse case

A father who is standing trial for hundreds of counts of sexually abusing his three children has made a comprehensive confession. The prosecution has dismissed it as a tactical move.

Statue holding scales of justice

On Tuesday, the court is set to decide Detlef S.'s fate

In a case that has sent shockwaves through Germany, a father has unexpectedly confessed to hundreds of counts of sexually abusing his children. Detlef S. admitted to "behaving in a fundamentally wrong manner," his lawyer told the court in Koblenz on Monday.

The lawyers of the accused have asked for a prison sentence of nine and a half years, and opposed the inclusion of preventive custody in the sentence, saying their client did not pose a danger to the general public because all the crimes took place within the family.

In the previous week, the public prosecutor had called for a prison sentence of 14 years and six months with preventive custody to follow afterwards. Preventive custody aims to stop someone from committing further crimes, but is not imposed as a punishment in itself.

Detlef S. from Fluterschen is on trial for 160 counts of sexual abuse and rape as well as aiding and abetting these crimes.

The victims were his children: a daughter, who is now 18, a 27-year-old step-daughter and her twin brother. He began abusing his daughter when she was nine years old.

'Merely tactical'

On Monday he admitted to forcing his daughter and step-daughter into prostitution with men and receiving money for this.

Until now Detlef S. had only admitted to abusing his daughter and fathering seven children with his step-daughter.

Detlef S.

The prosecution described the confession as a tactical move

The state prosecution said the confession was a "tactical move" and that the man didn't show any real regret.

The case has caused a stir across Germany. The youth welfare office in the district of Altenkirchen, which had regular contact with the family, was heavily criticized for not reacting appropriately to frequent evidence of abuse within the family.

The defense is expected to make its closing statement on Monday, and sentencing is expected on Tuesday.

Author: Natalia Dannenberg (dpa, AP)
Editor: Michael Lawton

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