BERLIN (AP) — A 45-year-old German man who had offered online babysitting services was convicted Tuesday of child sexual abuse charges in a case that shocked even seasoned investigators and led them to discover numerous other abuse suspects.
The regional court in Cologne sentenced the defendant, whose name was not released for privacy reasons, to 14 years and six months in prison. It also ordered that he be held in safe confinement after the end of his sentence.
Prosecutors had asked the court to impose a prison sentence of 15 years, the maximum term normally allowed under German law, arguing that the defendant’s crimes were particularly serious.
Investigators said the man had documented the abuse of babies, children and teens, sharing videos and images of “unimaginable brutality” with dozens of people.
Prosecutors had charged the man with more than 120 counts of sexually abusing 13 children between 2005 and 2019. The youngest victim was one month old.
The defendant admitted the allegations during the trial, describing them as “despicable”, according to the German news agency dpa.
The police arrested the man at the end of 2021 in a house where he lived with his wife in the town of Wermelskirchen. The suspect was in a video call with colleagues at the time of the police raid, dpa reports.