Police in the Austrian town of Korneuburg have detained an Afghan man in his 20s for allegedly intimidating a 13-year-old girl to engage in sexual relations – an ordeal that lasted three months for the teenager.
“The accused did not use any violence, but he did threaten her and scared her into doing what he wanted,” said a police spokesman, as cited by Austrian newspaper Kurier.
The man, who reportedly was still living in a refugee shelter at the time of the crime, encountered the girl online in early January. The ensuing pen-friendship took a serious turn and the two eventually met in person in a wooded area, where they reportedly had sex.
According to the police, the girl was too frightened to tell anybody about the events and stayed silent for three months, during which time the suspect repeatedly coerced her into having intercourse.
“Over the course of three months the asylum seeker repeatedly sexually abused the schoolgirl,” added the police spokesman.
After the girl finally confessed to her parents about the abuse she had endured, they alerted the police, who then arrested the man. The perpetrator was subsequently brought into custody, where he remains as the investigation continues.
Police have refused to give any further details on the incident in order to protect the victim.
“On the grounds of the legitimate interests of the victim, no media work will be done in this case,” said police spokesman for Lower Austria, Markus Haindl, as cited by Kurier.
Reports of sexually-oriented violence linked to the ongoing mass refugee influx into Europe have been making headlines in Austria for the past several months.
Last month, the quiet Austrian town of Klagenfurt was shocked by the news of an assault on a mother and her four-year-old son at the local swimming pool. A middle-aged man who could hardly speak German reportedly grabbed the woman’s private parts after carrying the child onto his shoulders to another part of the facility. The woman, who is in her 30s, filed a complaint with police and they are now searching for the suspect.
Responding to heavily publicized sexual offences involving Afghan migrants, such as the rape of a 72-year-old pensioner committed by an 18-year-old Afghan asylum seeker in the town of Traiskirchen, the Austrian government plans to launch a large-scale advertising campaign in the five largest Afghan cities.
Posters and billboards are expected to be installed, reading: “No asylum in Austria for economic reasons” and “Smugglers lie! Inform yourself!”
Over the past year, Austria has seen a surge in asylum applications from Afghanistan. Some 25,500 Afghans, predominantly men of working age, filed applications last year – which accounts for more than a quarter of the total number of asylum seekers in Austria.
The Austrian government announced that it plans to expand the campaign to cover North African countries such as Morocco, Tunisia and Algeria – which are home to millions of refugees flooding into Europe.
In February, Austria introduced a controversial 80-asylum-applications-per-day cap with the goal to stem refugee inflows into the country. It also intends to limit the number of asylum seeker arrivals to 37,500 this year, having processed 90,000 applications last year.