Judgment against operators of child porn platform Boystown


Andreas G. listens to the presiding judge as if he were just telling a story. He has his elbows on the table, his head in his hands at the side, facing the criminal court. The presiding judge says Andreas G. classifies his risk of recidivism as 90 percent. He always approached the boy in a friendly manner, but did not act spontaneously. The abuse was planned. And it would be possible for him in the future, after serving his sentence, to establish such contact with boys. The forty-two-year-old is willing to be treated. But that doesn’t speak against preventive detention.

It is not the first time that day that many in Room I of the Frankfurt Regional Court wished the presiding judge would really only tell one story, albeit a particularly horrific one. Andreas G. from the district of Paderborn is one of four defendants in the trial of the Boystown child pornography platform on the dark web. More than 400,000 users around the world had access to images and videos showing sexual abuse of children, mainly boys, until the portal was shut down in spring 2021.

The court sees it as proven this Tuesday that Andreas G. worked as a moderator and administrator of the site – and even sexually abused children in 25 cases. According to the judge, the fact that Andreas G. worked with the investigators and disclosed his passwords had a mitigating effect. The court sentenced G. to a total of ten years and six months in prison, followed by preventive detention. The presiding judge described this remedy as the “severest sanction known to the German penal code”. G. should never be able to approach children again.

Actions filmed and forwarded

Behind Andreas G. sits Alexander G. He is sentenced to a total of twelve years in prison, also with subsequent preventive detention. According to the court, the forty-nine-year-old was responsible for operating the servers registered in Moldova, which made the illegal platform possible. He has abused children on dozens of counts, including his own son. Among other things, according to the presiding judge, he filmed his actions and sent the recordings to Andreas G.

In the case of the third and fourth defendants, according to the court, it cannot be “determined with the necessary certainty” that they themselves have abused children. The 60-year-old Christian K., who was arrested in Paraguay and also operated the platform, was sentenced to eight years. The 66-year-old Fritz K. from Hamburg did not have a specific job on the platform himself, but was a particularly active user. He has written more than 3600 forum posts. “He shaped the platform with his content contributions,” says the judge. K. now has to go to prison for seven years.

The presiding judge meticulously lists the crimes committed by the men in how many cases. He doesn’t go into detail. During the trial, the criminal court had repeatedly excluded the public from the hearings in order to protect the identity of the victims. The 45 minutes in which the presiding judge announces the verdict are enough to get an idea of ​​how serious the deeds of the men weigh. It was not an “everyday procedure,” the judge said. The extent of the psychological and physical consequences of child abuse is unpredictable.

“They wanted to promote the pedophile community as a whole”

According to the court, Andreas G., Alexander G., and Christian K. were active on another platform before Boystown, which was shut down in the summer of 2019. They then joined forces to set up a successor platform. The child pornographic material distributed on Boystown was categorized according to preferences, and the distribution of roles in the forum was strictly hierarchical. The enormous reach of Boystown was also noticeable in the fact that two weeks after it was switched off in spring 2021, there were still over 80,000 access attempts.

Several other chat platforms were connected to Boystown, which served to exchange child pornographic material, including that of female children. This does not correspond to the sexual preference of the operator. “They wanted to promote the pedophile community as a whole,” says the presiding judge, adding that the accused had “considerable criminal energy”.

A spokesman for the Central Office for Combating Internet Crime (ZIT), which is responsible for the case and is part of the Frankfurt Public Prosecutor’s Office, was satisfied after the hearing. The court followed almost all of the prosecutor’s requests. The investigations in the case are not yet complete, a “large number of users” have been identified. The lawyer of a now 23-year-old co-plaintiff hopes that the judgment will have a “signal effect that nobody is safe, not even on the so-called Darknet”. It is hard to foresee how much suffering has arisen – “and perhaps will arise in the future”.



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