TALLINN – Prosecutors in Estonia have sent to court a criminal case in which a 57-year-old man is accused of sexual abuse of four children under 10 years of age.
According to information collected in the pretrial investigation, the accused, Andres Kents, took advantage of his family and other relationships, as well as his professional contacts with children, to abuse the victims.
District Prosecutor Leelet Kivioja, who led the investigation, said that the investigation has identified four victims, whose ages range from two to seven years.
"Andres used both his close and family relationships, as well as the circle of acquaintances in general, to find the victims. The man built a relationship of trust with children from poorer socioeconomic backgrounds and troubled families over a longer period of time, which allowed him to spend time with the children without the supervision of other adults," the prosecutor said.
According to the charges, the accused sexually abused several victims over the years, both in his own home and in the homes of the victims, as well as in his workplaces. The investigation also identified two victims who were groped by the accused in intimate areas at the kindergartens where he used to work at different times.
Kivioja said the materials of the investigation show that the accused acted for decades and had developed a pattern of behavior to find victims and build trust.
"Underage boys have visited his home and also lived there over the years, but the acts committed against several victims have now expired under the Penal Code," she said.
The police and the prosecutor's office opened criminal proceedings following a tip-off from a person who decided to share with the police the suspicions that had been raised over the years by several people around the accused, the prosecutor added.
The accused, who was working as a janitor at Tallinna Vanalinna Hariduskolleegium high school in Tallinn's Old City, was arrested in mid-April and has been kept in custody since.
He has been charged with the commission of other acts of sexual nature with persons under 10 years of age against their will.
Nearly 500 cases of child sexual abuse are reported to the police each year, but that may be only a tenth of all such crimes, the police believe.