German youth thought sex abuse claims were a misunderstanding

17th December 2007, Comments 0 comments

A German youth accused of sexually assaulting a 13-year-old British girl while on holiday in Turkey said that he could not believe the allegations levelled against him at first.

17 December 2007

Hamburg (dpa) - A German youth accused of sexually assaulting a 13-year-old British girl while on holiday in Turkey said Sunday that he could not believe the allegations levelled against him at first.

"We in initially thought it was a case of mistaken identity," Marco Weiss, 17, said in a television interview, a day after his return to Germany, following eight months in a Turkish prison.

Even after being placed in detention he believed he would soon be free and join his family on their return flight to Germany after a brief delay.

"We thought we'd be able to leave the same night or the next day. But it took a bit longer than that," the schoolboy said, according to excerpts of the interview released by the television channel RTL ahead of Sunday evening's broadcast.

Weiss said time passed slowly during the 247 days he spent in jail after being accused of assaulting the girl, named in German news reports as Charlotte M, in a hotel room while they were both on holiday at the Mediterranean resort of Side.

"You can while away the time with sport and watching television ... but then things return to normal and you can adjust to the time better," he said.

Weiss, who was flown to Germany by private jet following his release from custody by a court in the Turkish city of Antalya, said he needed peace and quiet to recover from his ordeal.

On his return home he said he was overjoyed to be reunited with his family and was looking forward to spending Christmas with them at home in northern city of Uelzen.

There is a widespread belief in Weiss' innocence in Germany where the case has been compared to that of missing British toddler Madeleine McCann because of the huge publicity it received.

German politicians had appealed to Turkey to free the youth, whose night with the British girl was discussed in intimate detail in the media and on on television chat shows.

"I think that many people are rejoicing with him in Germany," said Chancellor Angela Merkel after learning of the boy's release while in Brussels attending a summit of the European Union.

Weiss, who still faces trial, insists the girl pretended to be 15, rather than 13, and that she was a willing partner in a sex act that fell short of full intercourse.

The mother of the alleged victim, who lives in Manchester, has said that their daughter was raped in the April 11 incident.

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