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Germany

German Child Rape and Murder Trial Begins

Thirteen people appeared in court in the southwestern town of Saarbrücken on Monday charged as principals or accomplices in the rape and murder of a five-year-old boy, in one of the biggest pedophile trials in recent German history. The chief defendant, a 51-year-old bar owner identified as Christa W., was accused of charging her clients the equivalent of €10 ($12) each to sexually assault the child, whose body has never been found. She was also alleged to have filmed and photographed the acts. Prosecution lawyers told the court that the boy, known as Pascal, was thought to have been lured into the bar on Sept. 30, 2001 and to have died the same day. But investigators who searched a quarry near the French village of Forbach, about 10 kilometers (six miles) away from the German border, failed to find his corpse and said they were unsure exactly how and when he died. Court sources said that some of the defendants had admitted to raping or killing Pascal several months ago. Four men and a second woman were charged as principals and seven as accomplices. All the defendants were in their 40s or 50s. Court sources said that seven of them had previously been charged with sex offences against two other children. In October last year, a 49-year man, described as mentally retarded and an alcoholic, was jailed for seven years and ordered to be detained in a psychiatric hospital after being convicted of sexually assaulting Pascal. (AFP)