Swedish man sentenced to 10yrs in jail for 'online rape'
A Swedish court has sentenced a man to 10 years in prison for “rapes” which took place online. He was found guilty of coercing teenagers to perform sexual acts in front of webcams, threatening them or their families if they refused to do so.
Bjorn Samstrom, 41, was convicted of rape and sentenced by the Uppsala City Court on Thursday, with the court finding that he was guilty of online sexual offenses against 27 children in the US, Canada, and Britain between 2015 and early 2017, AP reported. It marks the first time that someone has been convicted of rape over the internet in Sweden, a country whose law makes clear that rape doesn’t have to involve intercourse, and can instead be any act that is considered equally violating.
Samstrom made the teens – whom he met over social networks – take off their clothes and perform sexual acts with their fingers and other objects while he watched from Sweden, Canadian news outlet National Post reported in October. Some were also forced to involve other children or pets.
The 41-year-old threatened to post photos of his victims on porn sites or kill their relatives if they didn’t perform sexual acts for him. “They were very scared,” prosecutor Annika Wennerström said in October, as cited by the National Post. “The ones that we interviewed, they described that they had no choice. They did as they were told.”
The online rapes came to light when authorities investigated Samstrom for a separate alleged sex crime involving Swedish complainants, and discovered he had video recordings of the teen girls, Wennerström said last month. The 41-year-old’s voice could be heard in some of the footage, she said, as cited by the Canadian Press.
The case is a win for Wennerström, who previously said that she and fellow prosecutors were “really challenging the court now with this case.” She noted that “it’s only the sexual predator’s imagination that sets the limits...
“The technology knows no limits. So we have to adapt our mindset to, ‘What can a rape be?’ We say a rape can be different things. You don’t always have to have the textbook case of a physical attack or physical coercion.”
“It’s easy to cross the line, a lot easier than going to a playground and finding a victim,” she said. “(But) we do not take this lightly. These are real crimes, with a virtual tool.”