A Danish man charged with ordering livestream videos of the sexual abuse of 346 children in the Philippines has told a court that he did it to help the victims financially.
The 70-year-old resident of the Copenhagen suburb of Brondby is on trial for ordering and paying for child sex shows over the course of five years. Once they were purchased, he would allegedly view them remotely from a live video link.
The children were reportedly forced to perform sexual acts on each other. In some cases, their own parents carried out the abuse.
The man confessed on 10th December 2019, to having paid for livestreams but denied charges of rape and that any of the children were under the age of 12. However, prosecutors say that one child was as young as three years old.
The pensioner also told the court that he ordered the shows to help the abused children with money for school and to buy clothes.
“I wanted to help, and the price was higher [for children than adults], so I told myself that they would get more money for themselves that way,” he said to The Local, which quoted Danish broadcaster DR.
The cost for each video was reportedly around US$35 to $40.
The defendant was unable to answer the prosecutor‘s question of why he didn‘t simply give the children money, rather than ordering the abuse.
The man said that he began watching videos of children in 2011, after previously watching shows featuring adults.
“I had this [moral] view that you don’t do these things with children. I don’t know…it must have been because of the fact that it was happening on a screen,” he said.
The man has been in custody since February 2016, after the FBI tipped off Danish police. It took prosecutors and cyber police an entire year to collect and process all the evidence against him, in what has amounted to a historic case.
“As far as I know we’ve never had a case in the whole world in which one person is charged with so many assaults,” Flemming Kjaerside of the Danish National Police’s Cyber Crime Center told the Ritzau news agency earlier this month.
The indictment is reportedly a 119-page document depicting disturbing details of the alleged acts of sexual abuse ordered by the man.