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Two-year sentence in Oulu sexual abuse case

A second man has been convicted in a case involving eight suspects and a single underage victim.

Oulun seksuaalirikosvyyhdin toinen tapaus 26.4.2019 Oulun käräjäoikeudessa.
The defendant at Oulu District Court on 26 April 2019. Image: Marko Pinola / Yle

Oulu District Court has sentenced a 20-year-old man to two years in prison for the aggravated sexual abuse of a child.

The sentencing is the second in a series of cases in which eight men described by police as being "of foreign background" are accused of sexual abuse of an underage girl over the course of many months last year in the northern city of Oulu.

The crime in this case took place at his private residence between September and October of last year. The perpetrator and victim had met via social media at his initiative.

As in the previous case, the court said there were "shortcomings in the victim's ability to act and understand", which the perpetrator should have realised. The court also ruled that the crime was aggravated because the man had taken advantage of the girl's interest in him, offered her money several times to entice her to his home, and because of the major difference in their ages. At the time he was 20 and she was 13.

State pays legal costs

He was ordered to pay the victim 8,700 euros for pain, suffering and undermining her psychological situation, as well as some 4,500 euros in legal fees. Due to the man's financial situation, the state is paying for his legal fees of more than 11,000 euros.

The perpetrator has denied any criminal wrongdoing. His defence lawyer, Pasi Leinonen, said the sentence was tough. Leinonen said he had yet been in contact with the perpetrator, so he could not yet say if they would appeal the ruling.

A first-time offender convicted of a crime committed while under the age of 21 in Finland is generally eligible for release on probation after serving one third of his or her prison sentence.

Prosecutor: Perpetrators acted separately

Last week a 21-year-old man was sentenced to four years imprisonment in a parallel case.

Police suspect the eight men of subjecting the same girl to sexual abuse and physical assault for nearly five months, from early June through late October.

District Prosecutor Pia Mäenpää has told Yle that the men apparently acted separately and individually, and that they did not all know each other. Yle has learned that at least three of the men lived at the same reception centre.

Police say all the suspects came to Finland as refugees or asylum seekers. Some have already been granted refugee status or Finnish citizenship.

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