The man claimed that he apologized in the Facebook messages for something he might not have done. The court did not accept this explanation.
The Helsinki Court of Appeal has unconditionally reduced a 70-year-old man’s prison sentence for aggravated sexual abuse of a child.
In November 2021, the man was sentenced in the district court to three and a half years of unconditional imprisonment for years of abuse. In May 2023, the Court of Appeal reduced the sentence to three years.
The abuse took place between 1999 and 2006, when the victim was between 3 and 11 years old. Sexual acts had occurred, including touching and kissing several times. In one act, the child was subjected to finger intercourse.
By law, the acts took place in an environment that should have been safe for the child. The decisions of the District Court or Court of Appeal do not clarify the more precise relationship between the person and the victim of the crime. In any case, the man was in a position where he could put the victim in a disturbing and contradictory position.
The court considered the planned actions. Due to her young age, the victim was completely helpless when the incident started.
Facebook messages between the man and the victim, which discussed the abuse, became important evidence in court. The communication took place in the summer of 2016, nearly 10 years after the end of the abuse.
– I have decided to publicly tell about my childhood and yours. Have something to comment? the victim asked in her message.
During the communication, the man did not deny the charges against him. Instead, he expressed that he knew what he did was wrong and that he was sorry.
Twenty years ago you made your choice, now is the time to pay the price, the victim wrote.
In court, the man explained that he was distressed by “outrageous statements” in the victim’s messages and therefore did not do something for which he apologised. The court found this unbelievable.
Apart from the fact that child sexual abuse is a serious crime, the act is associated with a strong stigma in the society. In its decision, the district court said, in general, the act in question is considered so abhorrent that it would hardly provide any justification, let alone for it.
The victim had also told about the rape to the people appearing as witnesses in the court. His account, diary entries made by the victim, and statements from a doctor and a psychiatrist supported the prosecution.
The court found the victim’s own story to be coherent and realistic.
Apart from a reduction in sentence, the Helsinki District Court’s verdict or finding of guilt was not changed in any way by the Court of Appeal. The man had asked the Court of Appeal that the entire allegation of abuse, which he denied, be dismissed.
He had already been ordered by the district court to pay the victim a total of 17,500 euros in compensation and her court costs.
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