In Biggest Swedish Child Porn Ring Bust to Date, Only One Out of 24 Gets Prison

In Biggest Swedish Child Porn Ring Bust to Date, Only One Out of 24 Gets Prison

October 18, 2011
in Category: Uncategorized
3 2534 0
Lars Skoglund, 43, was sentenced to one year in
prison for heading a large child porn ring
During the summer of 2010, Lars Skoglund was a suspect of having molested his sibling’s children. He was found innocent of this, but when the police searched his house and seized his computer, they uncovered large volumes of child pornography on his hard drives. Following this, in September he now faced child pornography charges – and while he at first was a sole suspect, some 23 women all over Sweden between the ages of 38 and 70 found themselves charged as well of the same crime, as the police discovered chat logs from the encounters the man had had with these women after hooking up with them on dating site e-kontakt.se.

All in all, roughly 50 people were involved one way or another in the child porn ring – including a married couple in their 50’s in Skåne county – yet half of the suspects had to be written off due to not being properly identified, or due to the crimes having passed the relatively short period of limitation, which in “negligible” cases of child porn is as short as two years. When the lawsuit was handed over to the court, the material included in the charges would consist of 1,181 pictures and 40 video clips, depicting children being raped in a violent manner, some of them even tied up during the act. The 43-year-old man was the main suspect, accused of having disseminated these pictures and clips to the women, though some of the women would in return send him pictures of their own as well.
Skoglund had since the early 2000’s made himself quite a comfortable life being unemployed, spending several years hooking up with women over Internet dating sites. On e-kontakt.se, he would initiate contacts with the female suspects, at first merely looking for company, but soon engaging with them in mutual fantasies involving sexual intercourse with children. Some of the women on this site were actually married while they were chatting with this man, and most had children of their own. Skoglund would gradually move their conversations over to focusing on child molestation and child pornography – and the women he hooked up with indeed turned out to share this preoccupation. One woman aged 48, married and with a steady job, would expand on her fantasies surrounding intercourse with her own adult children, and with minors as well. When she was charged with this crime, she would lose both her marriage and her job.
Another unexpected encounter of his would be a now 48-year-old children’s pastor, Helene Nilsson, employed by the Swedish church in Kronoberg county. During the interrogation with this woman, she would state that she was disgusted by the images, that she’s never met the man, only talked to him once on the phone and didn’t keep any of the pictures he sent her; yet while searching her computer, the police found both these very pictures and chat logs covering a time of four months. The Swedish church today has very much lost its roots and headed off into strange territory. Openly homosexual ministers are perfectly accepted; and in 2009, a woman named Eva Brunne, in a civil union with female priest Gunilla Lindén, became the bishop of the Diocese of Stockholm, having a poltical background in the Social Demcrat party.
The evidence the police uncovered contained not only disturbing images, but disturbing chat logs as well. While sending a picture to one of the women, Skoglund describes how horny he gets watching it. In the courtroom, District Attorney Niclas Eltenius of Falun would also later quote the man when he writes about how he’d like to rape and beat up children. He and the woman he’s interacting with go into great detail on just how to go about doing this.
Skoglund would also encourage the women to take pictures themselves of their own children and send to him, which three of them did. He would also meet up with some of these women in real life and engage in intercourse with them, which seemingly didn’t cause much alarm in spite of how explicit he had been about child molestation in conversations with this large number of women. Yet finally in 2010, when an acquaintance of one of the suspects had overheard him discussing molesting the children of his siblings during a conversation with this woman, he was brought to the attention of the police, and the large affair started to unfold.

The verdicts

 

Lars Skoglund sitting in the courtroom.
Source: Ulf Palm / Scanpix

On this Tuesday, the 18th of October, Falun District Court handed down the verdicts in the case. Lars Skoglund was found guilty of aggravated child pornography and sentenced to a year in prison, him having been the only one tried under this crime classification. As for the 23 women, they were all convicted of the regular offense child pornography and given fines (some as low as 2,500 Swedish crowns, or about 400 dollars) and probation.
Lars-Erik Bergström, Lawspeaker (judge) at the court, told media that established precedence had been used in determining the sanctions. “Probation and a fine is the normal sanction for a child pornography crime that isn’t considered aggravated.”
Though mainstream media has not revealed the identity of a single person charged in the case, alternative online newspaper Västra Götalands Nättidning has made up for this by disclosing the names and personal code number (the Swedish equivalent of social security number) of all 24 convicted individuals.
As far as sanctions go, the Swedish justice system apparently takes crimes against children lightly, with few repercussions for offenders found guilty. In 2009, 345 cases of child pornography crime were reported to the police. 44 of these led to convictions, out of which four consisted of prison time. In 2010, the statistics were only marginally better – 390 reported cases leading to 83 convictions, out of which 10 were prison sentences, the rest being probation and fines.
A man who’s played a major part in setting the precedents concerning these crimes is Justice Leif Thorsson, who in 2005, at age 59, was found guilty of having bought sexual services from a 19-year-old man. Though the relationship itself is legal, paying for sexual services is not, and Thorsson committed this crime on at least five occasions in early 2005 while serving on the Supreme Court.
With the “two-thirds rule” applying to all prison sentences, where the convict is automatically released on probation after this portion of the sentence has been served assuming good behaviour, the total amount of prison time handed down in this child porn ring will be no more than eight months – the time Lars Skoglund will have to serve in a comfortable Swedish prison.
, , , , ,
Daniel Hammarberg

View my other posts