The first court case over the wave of sexual assaults over New Years Eve began in Dusseldorf as an 18-year-old victim testified.
Taoufik M. is accused of being part of a mob in Dusseldorf who sexually attacked groups of women and stole their belongings. The 33-year-old Moroccan is the first to be put on trial for the crime since the huge wave of sexual attacks occurred on New Year’s Eve.
The mass sexual attacks over New Year’s Eve were most well known in the city of Cologne where over 1,000 complaints were lodged with police. Cases of sexual assault were not limited to Cologne, however, as Dusseldorf police also had over 100 complaints from women on the same night. One such report was from Leonie N. who appeared in court to testify against Taoufik M. whom she accuses of being part of a larger gang of North African men who sexually abused her that night, reports Die Welt.
Unable to hold back tears as she entered the courtroom, Leonie N. was visibly shaken. Leonie is one of the most important witnesses to the events on New Year’s Eve in Dusseldorf. She was able to positively identify the 33 year old migrant after she recognized his face in a report from Spiegel TV in which he appeared as the so-called “King of the Pickpockets.” Taoufik is well known to police in the area and is said to have a long history of criminality with multiple convictions.
Leonie took the stand and described the horrific story of her New Years Eve to the court. She said that she had come to the old town of Dusseldorf with her girlfriends and at around 2 am they were surrounded by 15-20 men. She said the men were “all hands” and that many of them had tried to lift her dress. They also “touched my breasts, buttocks and genital area.”
The girls attempted to resist the men and free themselves from the group but as they tried to leave more men attempted to grope them in front of a local disco. As Leonie turned around to shout at the men to leave them alone she saw one man in particular raise his hand as if to strike her but he was held back by two others.
Leonie had to wait a few days to give her testimony to police because her friend was hesitant to report what had happened. It was only a few weeks later that she saw the 33 year old on television that she knew she had to report it to the authorities. Spiegel TV was doing a report on petty criminals in the city who robbed tourists and others when Taoufik M. appeared on camera. Leonie took a picture of him with her smartphone and submitted it to the police.
The defendant has so far refused to make any comments on his own behalf and has covered his face when reporters have been allowed into the courtroom.
The New Years Eve sex attacks marked a turning point in public attitudes toward the migrant crisis. Many have blamed the attacks for the election success of the right wing party Alternative for Germany who saw massive gains in regional elections. The public has also been outraged at the lack of reporting by the media and police which Breitbart London has reported may have been coordinated in an attempt to cover up the events that shocked the world.