When it comes to the underground world of the darknet, reading about the police busting another child abuser through posts on hidden forums is not uncommon. Due to some of the more recent operations by international law enforcement agencies, the arrests have only been increasing in frequency. But some cases are more unique than others—such is the case of a 39-year-old German man named Christian L. who both physically abused children and religiously used the primarily English-speaking child pornography forum known as “PlayPen”.
Unlike the vast majority of recent cases involving German child abusers, Christian L.’s case had no direct relation to the recently seized child pornography forum “Elysium”. And, as one might expect, the case did not arrive at the Frankfurt Attorney General’s Office though the Central Office for Combating Cybercrime (ZIT). The case came from the United States’ Operation Playpen that the FBI basically butchered in 2015.
Christian L. has been in the news before—for crimes against children too—but only recently did the ZIT make the connection between evidence from the FBI and their own investigation. Or so they would have the public believe. The most recent and ultimate arrest made waves in Germany. In September 2017, German authorities arrested the 39-year-old and his 47-year-old partner, Berrin T., for the sexual abuse of a boy no older than nine years old. Berrin T. was the boy’s mother.
As if child abuse failed to satisfy the couple’s needs—and it clearly did—Christian and Berrin took the abuse to an entirely unexpected level. The police discovered the duo had been “selling” the child to pedophiles on the darknet. Selling may be the term used by the police, but in reality, the partners in crime treated the nine-year-old like he was a prostitute, making them his pimps. The boy had no opportunities to opt out of the abuse, though.
After receiving a tip from an unknown party, the police broke up what Georg Ungefuk, a ZIT spokesman, called the “first case of money being traded for sexual abuse at this scale in Germany.” So far, the police have apprehended eight pedophiles who contacted the duo over the darknet and later raped the child.
The sexual abuse charges are the worst of the charges, without a doubt. However, with assistance from the FBI, a new set of charges have been filed that will help ensure a mandatory minimum length in prison that would keep him away from the nine-year-old. During the FBI’s illegal PlayPen investigation, the FBI identified a username that they knew belonged to someone who lived near Christian L. Sure enough, several months after the arrest, the Frankfurt Attorney General’s Office announced that Christian L. had downloaded (and stored) at least 277 pictures and videos. The abusive pedophile used the name “GeilerDaddy” on PlayPen.