38 reports of sexual assault at music festival in Sweden

© Stockholms Kulturfestival
Police in Sweden are investigating 38 reported sexual assaults at an annual teen music festival in Stockholm, local media report.

One of the cases was initially believed to be a rape, however, after reviewing the claim, police have reclassified it.

“Initial analysis gave the impression that a rape had taken place. After conducting a number of interviews and investigative work, we are now treating the case as a sexual assault,” Kjell Lindgren of the Stockholm Police told Swedish TT news agency on Saturday.

“Laying hands (on someone) is considered a sexual assault, any more than that and we consider it a (possible) rape,” Lindgren added, as quoted by Local.

Eighty-nine people were ordered to leave the grounds where the We are Sthlm festival was being held, and some were detained by police for public disorder.

By Friday, police had already received 17 reports of sexual assault, along with others complaining of assault, vandalism, violence against officials, and unlawful use of knives. On Saturday, TT news agency cited security sources as saying that a total of 38 complaints had been made.

The We are Sthlm festival had already earned notoriety for similar reasons, when Dagens Nyheter paper discovered that 38 complaints of rape or sexual assault had been filed after the events in 2014 and 2015.

After the story broke, Swedish police came under sharp criticism for allegedly covering up the assaults that had reportedly been committed by Afghan migrants. Prosecutors refused to look into the accusations, however.

Those headlines appeared as accusations were being voiced in the aftermath of a similar situation in the German city of Cologne, where asylum seekers were reportedly involved in a string of sexual assaults on New Year’s Eve.

Last month, the Bravalla Festival, Sweden’s biggest, was also blighted by sexual assaults. More than 17 women lodged complaints during that event, including five cases of rape, with three victims under 15. The headliner of the festival, the folk-rock band Mumford & Sons, boycotted the event following the reports.