Waves of shock have rippled across the country as a man working for the Government Agency for Child Protection was arrested following eight complaints of sexual assault on minors. The police expect more people to come forward with accusations.
Years of abuse
According to RÚV, the man in question had already been accused of assault on minors more than once while he was working at a children’s shelter.
In 2013 the police received a complaint that accused the man of having abused a little boy. The same abuse had already been reported to the Agency for Child Protection in 2008. Allegations of sexual assault towards children, however, had been reported to the Agency as far back as in 2002.
In spite of those three complaints, the man continued working for the Agency. The young boy who accused him in 2013, who prefers to stay anonymous, could not bear the thought of other children experiencing the same: “That’s why I filed the complaint. To stop him,” he told RÚV. “I expected him to be fired by the Child Protection Agency. I thought the system would work.”
At the Support Centre
Instead, five years passed before the man was arrested, following a complaint that accused him of molesting three siblings in 2015.
As of now, no victims were protégés of the shelter were the man worked. Instead, they were connected to him via friends and family ties. The man is said to have molested minors in his own house, where he managed a Support Centre for children run by the city of Reykjavík.
“I used to go to him during weekends. I had to study and get ready for school because I had some difficulties in class, so he offered to assist me with that ,” another young man who accused him of abuse last august told Visir.is. “But then he did more than he said he would. It first started in the shower where he wanted to teach me how to clean myself. Then it became more. I was a child back then, so I didn’t really know what was going on.”
A broken system
This is the second time in a short period of time that an employee of the Agency for Child Protection is accused and arrested for sexual abuse. A man who was working in the surveillance department of the Child Protection Services in Reykjavík was arrested in November for having engaged in prostitution and possibly human trafficking.
Both news have spurred questions about the Agency’s responsibility in these matters and why Icelandic authorities have failed to implement a system that can efficiently protect children from sexual abuse, especially when they work for government-run agencies.