A German man in his 50s who has a residence in the Switzerland was arrested in the United States for attempting to abuse a 13-year-old girl. If found guilty, the suspect can expect a harsher punishment since he tried to abuse a minor sexually in another country.
A 55-year-old man with a residence in Hergiswil, Nidwalden, Switzerland allegedly tried to abuse a 13-year-old girl in the United States. His plan, however, did not work out. He went to Orlando, Florida where an undercover investigator arrested him. The defendant had “booked” the girl on the dark web. Since the investigation is still on-going, law enforcement authorities did not disclose further details in the case.
According to the Swiss news publication Luzerner Zeitung, there are also such covert investigations present in Switzerland. The Luzern and the Zug police are supported by the Bundesamt für Polizei, Fedpol, for example, in the investigation against pedophiles. Each year, law enforcement authorities receive as much as 3,000 tips for Swiss citizens who presumably own and/or share child pornographic material. The Fedpol looks after all the clues, goes after them, and hands over the dossier to the cantonal police officers when enough evidence is gathered in the case. The criminal proceedings are at the hands of the cantonal police, Fedpol spokeswoman Lulzana Musliu, said in a statement at the request of the newspaper.
“We are also on the road in the darknet and are looking for potential marketplaces of child pornography as well as potential suppliers and buyers, which can be located in Switzerland,” Musliu stated.
The Zug police carried out pre-emptive preliminary investigations in dark web chat rooms in September 2016 – similar to the investigations the Orlando police conducted. The investigators supported the police network and received a corresponding authorization from the court to arrest the suspects. However, a federal decision has been made for such cases. According to the judges, preemptive chat investigations are no longer considered as hidden “preconceptions”, but rather as a “clandestine search”. However, there is no legal basis for that in the police network.
“Before we can conduct preventive investigations again, we must adapt to the police system. We are in this process of that, “says Frank Kleiner, spokesman for the Zug police.
Last year, according to the criminal statistics, 20 cases where children were abused sexually were revealed by the Swiss police. In addition, police reported 39 cases of child pornography throughout Switzerland. In the Canton of Zug, the police were able to identify five sexual acts with children, four of them remained unsolved. The Zug police also reported 18 cases of child porn. Lulzana Musliu emphasized that such cases in the area of Zug are in a high number.
In the canton of Nidwalden, an investigation into the possession of pornographic images of children is currently taking place against the suspected child molester with the residence in Hergiswil. This information was confirmed by the Chief Prosecutor, André Wolf. In this criminal proceeding, the accused had various rights, including the right to express himself to the accusations, to defend himself or to be defended by an attorney. As soon as the first concrete findings are present in the Nidwald criminal case, the prosecutor’s office will be able to decide on the further course of action. It is then possible, for example, that the Nidwalden prosecutor’s office can request the U.S. authorities to provide legal advice on the accused’s allegations of the criminal proceedings in Switzerland. Law enforcement authorities in the United States could also seek legal assistance from the Swiss police for the criminal proceedings, which they have conducted in the United States. This had not happened so far.
According to André Wolf, a behavior of the alleged 55-year-old child molester in Switzerland would be punished as attempted sexual act with minors, whereby of course the presumption of innocence applies.
However, the question stands: is the sole intention to commit such an offense already a criminal offense? According to Wolf, “the threshold of a non-criminal preparation for a criminal trial is exceeded by law if the offender leaves the ground at an agreed time and leaves the anonymity of the internet.” There is evidence that the 55-year-old had booked a ticket and flown to Orlando in an attempt to abuse the 13-year-old girl.