Thu, Feb 03, 2011 - Page 4 News List

Swiss say man admits to abusing over 100 people

AP, BERN, Switzerland

A 54-year-old man has admitted sexually abusing more than 100 mentally disabled children and adults in care homes in Switzerland and Germany over almost three decades, in what Swiss police described on Tuesday as an unprecedented case.

The abuse took place in nine different institutions where the unidentified man had worked as a therapist since 1982, police in the canton of Bern said.

Authorities have identified 122 of the victims, with the youngest being one-year-old at the time of the crime. Forty-two of the victims were over 18.

“It’s possible that in the course of the investigation more victims will come to light,” the head of Bern police’s special investigations unit, Gabriele Berger, told a news conference in Bern.

About 100 investigators have been assigned to the case.

The man was arrested in April last year and has been detained since, but police only released details of the case on Tuesday to prevent the investigation from being impeded by media interest.

Evidence against the man includes photographs and hours of video in which he recorded the abuse. Berger said the man had gone about his crimes deliberately, in many instances choosing victims who were unable to speak.

“He told police he had always known that what he did was wrong and he was sorry for the victims,” Berger said.

The majority of abuses have passed the statute of limitations. Police say the man can only be prosecuted for 33 cases.

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