The Police Department of South West Finland has completed and transferred to prosecutors the preliminary investigation of a large case of sexual abuse of minors.
The investigation, which has been conducted by officers at the Turku Central Police Station, involves a large number of sexual offences and victims, all of them girls aged between 8 and 14 years.
According to police information, the suspect is a native-born Finnish man who was arrested in early spring on suspicion of multiple counts of aggravated child sexual abuse, aggravated child rape and possession and distribution of images depicting abuse of children.
Like in other similar cases, the suspect the used social media to attract his victims.
Three other people have been also subject of a preliminary investigation.
To date, investigators have identified about 30 exploited girls from all over Finland. Of them, 13 preliminary investigations have been completed.
Police said the suspected crimes came to their attention "with the help of several domestic and international tips." The investigation has involved cooperation with the National Bureau of Investigation (Keskusrikospoliisi, in Finnish) and with some foreign agencies.
"Feelings of shame"
Police warned in a press release that, as has happened in similar investigations in the past, "due to feelings of shame," most victims did not report the abuse suffered to their parents or guardians until the police officers contacted the families.
The investigators remind parents that social media are "good platforms for networking, information gathering and entertainment" but they also create opportunities for abusers, so minors should be instructed from an early age about how to use them safely.
More specifically, police recommends parents to explain their children what kind of information should and should not be shared with strangers and what kind of pictures should be put online. At the same time, parents should build a trusting relationship with their children that makes it easy for them to even talk about the most difficult things.