- Norwegian police uncovered 151 alleged sexual assaults including 43 rapes
- A report identified 82 victims, aged between four and 75, and 92 suspects
- Ten people have been charged and others could follow, police officers said
A child sex scandal has rocked a small community in Lapland as Norwegian police uncover 151 alleged sexual assaults including 43 rapes.
An investigation was launched after a local paper last year published testimonies of 11 men and women claiming to have been assaulted in Tysfjord, a municipality above the Arctic Circle with less than 2,000 inhabitants.
A new police report said the assault cases were dropped mainly because too much time had passed. Some of the cases date as far back as 1953.
A child sex scandal has rocked a small community in Lapland as Norwegian police uncover 151 alleged sexual assaults including 43 rapes (stock image of Lapland)
The report identified 82 victims, aged between four and 75, and 92 suspects. Most were members of the indigenous Sami community, formerly known as the Lapps, and many were also followers of Laestadianism, a conservative Lutheran revival movement.
Ten people have been charged and others could follow, officers said.
‘The police have no reason to believe that ethnicity or religious beliefs are an explanation to the assaults that took place,’ police officer Tone Vangen told a news conference.
But she stressed that certain ‘mechanisms’ in this community ‘have made it difficult for things to emerge’. She said some suspects had turned to religion for repentance instead of the judicial authorities.
There’s ‘a strong need to close the ranks in the family in a situation where the Norwegian society is looking down on you,’ Vangen said.
But she also apologised for police having failed to act after several complaints had been filed.
‘The scope (of the facts) is huge,’ the mayor of Tysfjord Tor Asgeir Johansen told Norwegian news agency NTB.
‘This is a small community and this of course affects it,’ he added.