Swedish Police, Accused of Cover-Up, Look Into Reports of Sex Assault at Festival

newyorktimes

Reported by Dan Bilefsky of The New York Times

The police in Sweden, responding to accusations of a cover-up, said on Monday that they were investigating why the public had not been informed about sexual assaults by men reported to be migrants at a festival in Stockholm last summer.

In echoes of the scandal in Cologne, Germany, where the police are investigating scores of assaults, often involving asylum seekers, on New Year’s Eve, the Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter reported over the weekend that a gang of migrant youths had groped young girls at a festival in August.

The attacks in Cologne have intensified the scrutiny of the assaults in Sweden, and even as Chancellor Angela Merkel’s spokesman, Steffen Seibert, said there was no excuse for revenge attacks against immigrants, a group of Pakistanis and a Syrian were targeted in Cologne on Sunday, The Associated Press reported.

The Swedish newspaper said that the police had not mentioned the attacks until it published details about them, and it accused the authorities of failing to warn the public before the festival that similar attacks had occurred in 2014, prompting speculation that the authorities were trying to avoid an anti-immigrant backlash.

The newspaper reported that it had seen a police memo from last summer that urged vigilance because there had been a problem at the festival the previous year “with young men who rub themselves against young girls.” It reported that the attackers were mostly migrants, including from Afghanistan.

According to the Swedish edition of The Local, a news website, teenagers told Dagens Nyheter that they had been groped last summer at the festival, which caters to 12- to-17-year-olds and whose 2015 program included performances by dancers and circus artists.

“As soon as you came out in the crowd, they began to grope,” one 15-year-old girl told Dagens Nyheter.

Read the whole story at The New York Times

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