Balance of Bergisch Gladbach: Hundreds of suspects identified

Status: 01/12/2022 1:11 p.m.

Your work is an enormous psychological burden. Nevertheless, up to 350 investigators viewed huge amounts of videos and photos with the worst scenes of abuse at the same time. With great success. Today the “Mountain Investigation Group” is disbanded.

26 months after it was founded, the “Berg Ermittlungsgruppe Berg” in Cologne’s police headquarters took stock. It was founded after a 43-year-old cook was arrested in Bergisch Gladbach for the sexual abuse of his daughter in October 2019. The investigators came across a gigantic network of predominantly men who have committed serious sexual violence to children.

During the weddings, up to 350 investigators worked to solve the most serious sexual violence against children. The 43-year-old chef from Bergisch Gladbach had countless chat messages and terrabyte WhatsApp messages with videos and photos on his mobile phone. On his main mobile phone alone, 130,000 photos and 12,000 video files.

Perpetrators acted carelessly

That brought insights into a scene that nobody expected in terms of scope. The perpetrators sent each other videos with drastic scenes of abuse. Some even exchanged victims among themselves in real life. Hardly anyone bothered to hide their own actions online. Apparently very few expected investigations. They were all the more surprised when the police intervened.

Tremendous psychological stress

To date, the officers have identified well over 400 suspected sex offenders. 65 victims were freed from the hands of their tormentors. Numerous criminal proceedings have already been concluded and ended with long prison sentences – not infrequently with subsequent preventive detention.

Nobody from the investigation team would have expected such a resounding success in late autumn 2019. But hardly anyone with the enormous psychological stress that the investigators were under. Today the “Mountain Investigation Group” is disbanded. It has also changed the police, says Cologne’s police chief Uwe Jacob.

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