HIV positive man on trial for sex with Thai child prostitutes

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

LUENEBURG - An HIV-positive former German musician has been charged with abusing seven children and 23 youths in Thailand.

The 65-year-old former member of 1980s folk music group Godewind is accused of 403 cases of unprotected sex with child prostitutes, despite knowing he was HIV positive.

Due to his HIV status, which he allegedly did not reveal, the man is also accused of attempting to infect his victims.

The charges relate to events that occurred between May 2005 and November 2009 in the Thai resort town of Pattaya, a common destination for sex tourists.

The suspect was arrested on his return to Germany in December 2009, after police in Thailand found child pornographic material in his Pattaya accommodation.

A subsequent search of the man’s apartment in the northern German city of Celle revealed more evidence, including 140 video tapes, a court heard Monday. The opening sequence of one video tape, shot in Thailand, already showed the suspect with a girl, the lead investigator said.

Investigators had also compiled detailed evidence including lists of the man’s victims with names, ages and locations, as well as statements recorded in Thailand, the prosecution said.

In October the man had turned down the option of reducing the length of the trial by admitting to the charges against him, which would have seen him sentenced to nine years’ prison and therapy.

The full trial, which is to include witnesses from Thailand, is expected to last two years.

Since 1993, German courts have been able to prosecute the sexual abuse of minors, irrespective of whether it took place in the country or abroad.

The Unicef estimates that there are around one million child prostitutes in Southeast Asia - mostly in Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam.

It is hard to estimate how many so-called sex tourists there are, but the charity Terre des Hommes estimates that around 10,000 Germans travel annually to have sex with minors.

Studies show that around half of underage prostitutes in Asia are HIV positive.

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