FREIBURG: A German court handed down lengthy jail sentences yesterday to a couple for repeatedly sexually abusing their young son and selling him to pedophiles online, in a shocking case that raised pointed questions about the competence of child protection services. Following a criminal probe that even seasoned investigators said pushed them to the emotional limit, the regional court in Freiburg sentenced the boy’s mother, Berrin Taha, to 12 and a half years in prison.
Her partner Christian Lais, the boy’s stepfather whom he called “papa”, received a 12-year sentence followed by preventive detention. Lais, 39, was allowed to live in their home despite a previous conviction for child abuse and a court order to stay away from minors. The judges found that the unemployed couple had sexually assaulted the boy, now 10, numerous times and pimped him on the so-called darknet between May 2015 and August 2017.
They were convicted of rape, aggravated sexual assault of children, forced prostitution and distribution of child pornography, judge Stefan Buergelin said. The couple was also ordered to pay a total of 42,500 euros ($49,200) in damages to the boy and another victim, a girl who was temporarily in their care. Taha, 48, said through her lawyer that she would not appeal, in order to spare her son an even longer legal ordeal.