A man accused of enabling multiple abuses of his partner’s 9-year-old son is among those set to go on trial.

A 53-year-old man appeared at a trial opening on Tuesday, who prosecutors said had already admitted traveling to the city of Münster last August and abusing a 9-year-old boy.

Tuesday’s proceedings were held behind closed doors to protect the victim, a spokeswoman for Munster’s regional court (Landgericht) said.

Testimony was also given by another police officer who interviewed the 53-year-old, from the city of Norderstedt in Germany’s Northernmost state of Schleswig-Holstein.

More trials to follow

Awaiting trial from November 23 is an information technology specialist aged 27, accused of enticing visitors and himself repeatedly abusing the boy, whose mother was his long-time partner.

Also in detention are eight further men and a woman — six of whom have been formally charged — accused of abusing at least two children during long gatherings in a Münster summer garden house.

The Münster crime series became public in June when detectives found the IT specialist allegedly in possession of 400 terabytes of pedophile material.

Subsequent searches led to further suspects being arrested in Germany’s Northern state of Lower Saxony, NRW, and its central state of Hessen.

Tougher jail terms, redefinition

Last Friday, at a first reading, Germany’s Bundestag parliament deliberated on a draft law change in response to a shock series of cases over the past 18 months.

Federal Justice Minister Christine Lambrecht wants the sharing of child abuse images as videos or photos punishable by up to 10 years in jail, and up to 15 years done within pedophile networks or on a commercial basis.

In a legal redefinition, such abuse would be called sexualized violence, punishable with at least one year in jail.

Investigators would also be given more power to tap online communications.

“Offenders fear nothing more than being discovered,” said Lambrecht, a center-left Social Democrat (SPD) told parliament Friday.

Münster latest in shock series

Germany’s child sex cases include an earlier scandal in Lügde, 125 kilometers (80 miles) from Münster, where several men violated numerous children at a campsite between 2008 and 2018.

The resulting trial in Detmold led to jail terms of 13 years for the main accused and 12 years for his co-defendant.

During a parliamentary debate last Friday, opposition Greens co-leader Annalena Baerbock urged obligatory training for judges and that they themselves be required to listen to children and young people who had suffered abuse.

Andre Hahn, deputy parliamentary leader of the opposition Left party, called for more victim protection, asserting that only a third of perpetrators were exposed and only one percent were actually prosecuted.