A Swedish court has sentenced a man to 10 years of jail term for "online rape" of teenagers. Bjorn Samstrom was found guilty of raping girls from the US, Canada and Britain entirely over the internet, with no physical contact between him and the victims.
The 41-year-old was convicted of raping at least 27 girls from three countries between 2015 and early 2017 and was sentenced by the Uppsala City Court on Thursday (30 November). Experts called the sentencing unique in its own way and said that it was first of its kind in Sweden.
Under Swedish law, rape is the most serious form of sexual crime and it clearly states that rape doesn't have to involve intercourse and can instead be any act that is considered equally violating, Associated Press reported.
According to local media reports, Samstrom had made the teens, whom he met online, take off their clothes and perform sexual acts with their fingers and other objects in front of webcams while he watched them online. He also used to threaten his victims, saying he would post photos of them on porn sites or kill their relatives if they didn't perform sexual acts for him.
"They were very scared. The ones that we interviewed, they described that they had no choice. They did as they were told," prosecutor Annika Wennerström was quoted as saying by the National Post in October.
Samstrom's crimes came to light when authorities were investigating him for a separate alleged sex crime involving Swedish complainants. During the investigation, they found out the video recordings of the teens and the man's voice was also heard in some of the recordings, Wennerström said as cited by the Canadian Press.
Expressing her thoughts over the unusual verdict, Wennerström said that "it's only the sexual predator's imagination that sets the limits...
"The technology knows no limits. So we have to adapt our mind-set to, 'What can a rape be?' We say a rape can be different things. You don't always have to have the textbook case of a physical attack or physical coercion."
"It's easy to cross the line, a lot easier than going to a playground and finding a victim. (But) we do not take this lightly. These are real crimes, with a virtual tool," she added.