Man jailed in Sweden for child rape in Philippines

A Swedish court on Tuesday sentenced a man to five years prison for a series of sex crimes against children including a rape in the Philippines and possession of more than 500,000 pornographic pictures featuring children.

The Kristianstad district court, in southern Sweden, found 45-year-old Patrick Johnsson guilty of raping a young child, planning further child rapes, aggravated child pornography, sexually assaulting children, and making children pose for sexually explicit pictures.

Johnsson, who according to the TT news agency is only the third person to ever be sentenced in Sweden for sex crimes committed against children abroad, was arrested in February.

At the time, he was in possession of 514,216 pornographic pictures of children and 10,230 video films, including ones portraying sexual assaults and rapes on young children and even infants, and was found to have spread the material widely, according to the court documents.

Among the pictures were a number documenting his own assaults on children, and the Kristianstand court said that at least one case, involving a girl in the Philippines aged four or five, should be considered rape.

When he was arrested, Johnsson had already purchased a new ticket to the Philippines, and a chat conversation over the Internet indicated he and an accomplice intended to sexually assault more children during that trip, according to the court documents.

The prosecutor in the case, Maans Bjoerklund, had demanded eight years behind bars for Johnsson and told TT Tuesday he was considering appealing the verdict.

Helena Karlen, who heads the Swedish branch of the global anti-child prostitution network Ecpat, meanwhile said she was pleased with the verdict and especially the message it sent.

"It is important that the public opens its eyes to these crimes and realises that assaults, even committed on the other side of the planet, can be prosecuted at home in Sweden," she told TT.

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