|Gabriele Berger said many victims were unable to speak.|
BERN, Switzerland — A 54-year-old man has admitted sexually abusing more than 100 mentally disabled children and adults in care homes in Switzerland and Germany during almost three decades, in what Swiss police described yesterday as an unprecedented case.
The abuse took place in nine different institutions where the unidentified man had worked as a therapist since 1982, police in the canton (state) of Bern said.
Authorities have identified 122 of the victims, with the youngest being 1 year old at the time of the crime. Forty-two of the victims were over 18.
“It’s possible that in the course of the investigation more victims will come to light,’’ the head of Bern police’s special investigations unit, Gabriele Berger, told a news conference in Bern. Some 100 investigators have been assigned to the case.
The man was arrested in April 2010 and has been detained since, but police released details of the case only yesterday to prevent the investigation from being impeded by media interest.
Evidence against the man includes photos and hours of video recording the abuse. Berger said the man had gone about his crimes deliberately, in many instances choosing victims who were unable to speak.
“He told police he had always known that what he did was wrong and he was sorry for the victims,’’ Berger said.
The case came to light in March, after two male residents of a care home in the northeastern canton of Aargau informed their parents of sexual contact with the therapist.
The man was subsequently arrested at his home in the Bernese Oberland, in central Switzerland. Police said he has cooperated with investigators since his arrest.