Friday 19 January 2018

Girl (13) invented 'refugee sex attack' story - police

Aerial view of a swimming-pool.
Aerial view of a swimming-pool.

Meadhbh McGrath

A reported sex attack at an Austrian swimming pool that prompted a temporary ban on refugees has been deemed false, according to police.

A 13-year-old girl claimed that she had been followed into the women’s changing room by a young man at a leisure centre in the Austrian town of Mistelbach last month, where she said he forced her to perform oral sex.

According to the alleged victim, the suspect was a “dark-skinned” foreign man.

Following the incident, managers held an emergency meeting where they decided to introduce a  temporarily ban on refugees attending the pool.

A sign reading “today no entry for refugees” was pictured outside the entrance to the pool, and the leisure centre reportedly hired additional security guards to patrol the premises.

Police launched an appeal for information bearing an identikit image of the suspect, but the investigation was stopped after the girl admitted in an interview that she had lied about the incident.  

“The attack was made up by the victim,” Markus Haindl, a spokesperson for Lower Austria Police, told The Independent.

Police believe the girl’s story was influenced by a previous attack, where an asylum seeker from Iraq was jailed for a minimum of six years after raping a 10-year-old boy at a swimming pool in Vienna.

His attack in December 2015 ignited a backlash against refugees in the country, which led to an increase in support for anti-immigration groups and the implementation of a limit on the number of refugees coming to the country.

Elsewhere in Europe, reports of sexual harassment and assaults by asylum seekers at swimming pools have sparked controversy, including a ban on male refugees at a pool in Cologne, Germany, and the founding of a female-only “vigilante” patrol groups at Swedish swimming pools.

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