Child-sex murder trial ends in acquittal
07 September 2007, Saarbruecken, (dpa) - Eight men and four women in Germany were acquitted Friday of charges that they sexually abused a young boy to death in a sleazy bar.
07 September 2007
Saarbruecken, (dpa) - Eight men and four women in Germany were acquitted Friday of charges that they sexually abused a young boy to death in a sleazy bar.
The child, Pascal, 5, vanished without trace in 2001. The horrifying allegations that male patrons of the working-class bar in Saarbrucken gang-raped young boys have filled the German media since February 2003.
The judge said Friday that the murder allegations were plausible, but the evidence was not enough to prove the defendants, aged 38 to 64, guilty or innocent.
"The suspicion you did it is still there, but nobody can be convicted on suspicion alone," the judge said.
The prosecution had brought evidence from another boy who said the group repeatedly abused him from the age of 3 till 5. Police quoted a woman who said frail Pascal died of the men's sexual abuse in a back room.
One of the murder defendants, 49, was convicted four years ago on 17 counts of raping Pascal and other boys on earlier dates and was given a seven-year term in psychiatric custody.
Christa W, who ran the bar, was alleged to have lured the boys. She was described as the authority in the group. W received a one year suspended jail term on a separate charge of smuggling drugs to her own son who was in jail.
The accounts of Pascal's bleak childhood in Saarbruecken, a poor city near the French border, appalled Germany. His parents both died in the same month in 2005.
During a three-year trial, many of the police allegations were ruled inadmissible and the key witness denied her own evidence last year. Yards were dug up and walls dismantled, but Pascal's body was never found.
The defendants were gradually freed on bail, with the last let out in June last year. The man alleged to have abused Pascal last was re- arrested this year on charges of theft and violence.
Subject: German news