- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Police in Sweden received more than 50 reports of sexual assault said to have occurred at music festivals over the weekend.

Authorities were told of five rapes and 12 sexual assaults alleged to have happened at Bravalla, a three-day music festival in Norkopping billed as the country’s biggest.

Separately, concertgoers who attended a free festival in Karlstad, Putte I Parken (Party in the Park), reported 35 instances of sexual assault.

“The descriptions [of perpetrators] are diverse, with the one common denominator being that these are all young men,” Swedish police said with regards to the Bravalla incidents, The Telegraph reported.

In Karlstad, law enforcement officials initially described the alleged assailants as asylum-seeking refugees before walking back that claim Tuesday.

“The wording was unfortunate and we will take that to heart,” Lars Wirén, the head of police for the Värmland region, told the Göteborgs-posten newspaper. “We have changed it now. It’s important that the information we hand out is factual. We should not generalize and point at a group like this. We should handle it on a case-to-case basis.”

Police have arrested seven suspects ranging in age from 15 to 35 who are accused of groping female concertgoers attending Putte I Parken, and have received reports from at least 35 female accusers, ages 12 through 18.

“It was creepy,” said Alexandra Larsson, a 17-year-old who spoke with MailOnline after allegedly being sexually assaulted during Friday’s concert. “Someone stood around me and groped me and I had no idea who it was. It was sick. We had come there to have fun, but the festival only lasted 20 minutes for us because it was so uncomfortable.”

Organizers of both festivals have issued statements denouncing the alleged attacks and said they will reevaluate their security procedures ahead of future events. In the meantime, one of the headline acts that performed at Bravalla, British rock band Mumford & Sons, said they will sit out the annual festival until their assured organizers have taken proper measures.

“Festivals are a celebration of music and people, a place to let go and feel safe doing so. We’re gutted by these hideous reports,” the group said in a statement. “We won’t play at this festival again until we’ve had assurances from the police and organizers that they’re doing something to combat what appears to be a disgustingly high rate of reported sexual violence,” the band added.

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