A 25-year-old asylum seeker from Afghanistan has been sentenced to two years in prison for sexually molesting 14 women over a four month period.
The Afghan migrant was sentenced in Vienna this week after admitting he had molested over a dozen women between the ages of 18 and 36. He is said to have hung around the Reumannplatz area from November to February in the evenings and at night to find his victims, Die Presse reports.
“I have made mistakes and beg your pardon, I know I am guilty,” the migrant told the court. He is said to have approached his victims from behind and then held them and tried to touch their genitals against their will. In five of the attacks he succeeded in molesting the women and in the other nine cases, the women were able to fight him off.
One victim told the court how the migrant had approached her and grabbed her. She claimed that after she screamed the migrant let her go. She also noted that as a result of the attack she now suffers from panic attacks and is afraid to go out alone at night.
Some of the victims told the court how they fought the man off with kicks to the abdomen and one with pepper spray. The Afghan was eventually caught by police after security camera footage and police surveillance of the area led to his arrest in February.
The 25-year-old said that he had come to Austria to seek asylum from the Taliban in his home country and told the court he had already completed several courses.
Despite the maximum sentence for the crime being five years, Judge Sonja Höpler-Salat said a sentence of only two years was appropriate.
Sex attacks in Vienna perpetrated by migrants have made headlines in Austria consistently since the start of the migrant crisis. Most recently, a migrant from Iraq who raped a 10-year-old boy at a swimming pool had his sentence reduced by the Austrian Supreme Court who viewed his previous sentence as excessive.
Another case shocked Austria earlier this year when a gang of nine migrants, many of them related, took an intoxicated German tourist to an apartment and took turns raping her.
The Austrian government was forced to admit in 2016 the number of sex crimes committed by migrants had risen 133 per cent since 2015. The statistics showed that almost a fifth of all sex attacks was carried out by migrants.