Leaked police documents reveal that the number of sexual assaults in Germany on New Year’s Eve was far worse than previously reported.
Over 100 women in Cologne, Duesseldorf, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Stuttgart and other cities were initially reported to have been sexually assaulted by refugees during New Year’s Eve festivities. Germany’s Sueddeutsche Zeitung newspaper and broadcasters NDR and WDR now say 1,200 women were attacked that night in crimes involving over 2,000 men.
Authorities are pursing 120 suspects. Roughly half of the men are foreign nationals who recently arrived in Germany, The Washington Post reported Monday.
“There is a connection between the emergence of this phenomenon and the rapid migration in 2015. We have to presume that many of those crimes will never be fully investigated,” Holger Münch, president of the German Federal Crime Police Office, told Sueddeutsche Zeitung, The Post reported.
Only four men have been tried and convicted since the news broke seven months ago. National media faced fierce backlash for refusing to cover the attacks for days, which prompted Germany’s largest broadcaster to issue an apology.
“The news situation was clear enough. It was a mistake of the 7 p.m. ‘Heute’ [‘Today’] show not to at least report the incidents,” ZDF editor Elmar Thevessen wrote on his Facebook page at the time.
Cologne Mayor Henriette Reker also came under fire when she told women they could mitigate the chances of being raped by staying “at arm’s length” from strangers, CNN reported Jan. 6.
“[Officials need] to explain to people from other cultures that the jolly and frisky attitude during our Carnival is not a sign of sexual openness,” Ms. Reker added.