Even after handling child abuse cases for years, the prosecutor at the Munich District Court was shocked after discovering that a convicted pedophile had downloaded roughly 55,000 pictures depicting “particularly vile” child abuse pictures from darkweb forums and chat rooms. At a recent sentencing hearing, the prosecutor asked the court to sentence the defendant to four years and two months in prison for possession of child pornography. The court, after hearing an argument from the defense and the defendant himself, handed down shorter a prison sentence of three years and three months.
Between 2014 and 2017, a 55-year-old man from Mittenwald had downloaded 55,000 child abuse pictures and an unspecified number of videos depicting the same content. The defendant, known as Florian M. in the media, was an unemployed alcoholic for many years of his life. He drank heavily in 2014, according to the man’s own testimony. At an earlier hearing, the defendant admitted downloading the illegal content from various darkweb child abuse forums but claimed that he only accessed the forums while heavily intoxicated.
In February 2016, an unidentified German citizen discovered a USB drive on the ground in Wasserburg am Inn, Bavaria, Germany. That individual, after plugging the drive into their computer and discovering approximately 44,000 pictures of child abuse, turned the drive over to the police. The police, according to the prosecutor, had no difficulty identifying the defendant as the owner of the USB drive. The methods used to identify the man were not revealed in court, but similar stories covered by DeepDotWeb have revealed some of the mistakes made by individuals who lose USB drives filled with shockingly illegal content.
One case, in particular, demonstrates an example of an investigation into the owner of a USB drive that required effort from the investigators:
“In addition to  child abuse videos, the owner of the USB drive had stored and organized categories and subcategories of his work documents. Since the files included the man’s name, contact information, work address, home address, and other information, it painted a vivid picture of the owner of the USB drive. The police then secured a warrant to search the suspect’s home address.”
In the case above, the police raided the man’s house where they discovered even more child abuse content that the defendant had downloaded from a darkweb forum. They linked him to the USB drive without issue. In the similar case in Germany, the police performed a similar investigation that later led to the 55-year-old man from Mittenwald. In addition to finding the owner of the USB drive and the child abuse content on the drive, investigators found another 10,000 pictures and videos on the man’s home computer. He later admitted he had downloaded those pictures on darkweb forums after he had lost the USB drive.
The man told the court that he had created the drive after placing a trip to Wasserburg am Inn where he would not have had access to the internet. Shortly after arriving, he lost the USB drive.
In court, the prosecutor made her thoughts known; she told the defendant how ashamed of himself he should be for downloading such a massive amount of content that directly contributed or “encouraged the abuse of other children.” The prosecutor pointed out that the pictures and videos were “particularly vile” in contrast to other offenders. She told the court that the pedophile had many collections that focused on the rape of a five-year-old girl.
In court, a psychiatrist revealed that the 55-year-old was mentally deficient in many different ways. The psychiatrist explained that the man suffered from several personality disorders and legitimately felt little guilt for his actions when drinking and consequently made very poor decisions while intoxicated. According to the psychiatrist, the defendant had been abused as a child at the hand of his father. The defendant had trouble speaking in school and was a social outcast. He started medication at the age of 12. The psychiatrist recommended serious mental health treatment and therapy.
The judge signed off on mandated mental health treatment an a prison sentence of three years and three months. The prosecutor had no objections to the sentence and waived appeal so the defendant could enter therapy immediately.