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Jan 11, 1:52 PM EST

German police arrest 8 members of suspected pedophile gang


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BERLIN (AP) -- Eight suspected members of an online pedophile network have been arrested in what German police described Thursday as one of the most serious child sexual abuse cases they've ever investigated.

Police in the southwestern city of Freiburg said those arrested included a 47-year-old German woman suspected of letting others rape her own son in exchange for payment between 2015 and 2017. The woman and her 37-year-old partner are also accused of abusing the child themselves. The child has been taken into protective care.

In a statement, Freiburg police said others arrested were a 37-year-old Swiss man; a 32-year-old Spanish citizen; and two Germans, including a 49-year-old soldier stationed in France.

The case came to light following an anonymous tip sent to police in September. The suspects, who weren't identified, were all arrested last fall. Freiburg police said they only released information about the case Thursday so as not to endanger further investigations.

In a separate statement, Baden-Wuerttemberg state police said they also arrested two other men from northern Germany in connection with the case. One of them, a 43-year-old man from the northern state of Schleswig-Holstein, had expressed a desire to kill a child. Officers found items that could be used to tie up a person when they arrested the man in October.

Police said the other man, a 32-year-old also from Schleswig-Holstein, is suspected of abusing his own daughter on camera.

"This matter is the most serious case of sexual abuse of children ever investigated by Baden-Wuerttemberg state police," they said.

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