The indictment against Marcus R. is so extensive that on Tuesday in room 7 of the Cologne district court, two prosecutors had to take turns reading aloud for almost two hours.
Until a year ago, R. was a successful computer specialist.
He and his wife had recently built a chic house in a new development area in Wermelskirchen.
The 45-year-old R. was well regarded by his colleagues, and his neighbors valued his willingness to help.
But R. has led a double life for many years.
At least since 2005 he was active as a particularly brutal pedo criminal.
He gained access to his victims, who were sometimes only five or seven months old and sometimes also disabled, via various online platforms, where he offered himself as a child-loving babysitter.
He “looked after” some boys and girls for years.
The prosecutors describe what R. did to his victims, sometimes multiple times within a few hours, and in what way, down to the most dreadful detail.
R. lived out the most terrible fantasy on his victims.
Political correspondent in North Rhine-Westphalia.
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R. made photos and video recordings of all of the 122 accused acts, which is why the investigators were fully informed early on.
The physical violence that R. documented shook her deeply.
"I have never encountered such an extent of inhuman brutality and callous indifference to the suffering of small children, their pain and screams, their obvious fear," said Cologne police chief Falk Schnabel when the special development organization (BAO) with the Name "List" made the case public at the end of May.
R. drugged, sadistically tormented, tortured and raped his victims
On Tuesday, shortly after the two prosecutors began reading out the indictment, which is divided into 20 crime complexes, the district court said: It's even worse than Schnabel's words suggested.
The term sexual abuse is far too weak for the actions.
R. drugged his victims, tormented them sadistically, tortured them, raped them in every possible way.
R. reads everything in the dock like a meticulous accountant, carefully folds every sheet of the indictment that has been read, and only puts the file aside when the very last sentence has been read: "The accused is dangerous to the general public."
Until a few years ago, special development organizations were only formed in the event of hostage-taking or terrorist attacks.
But since the fight against child molesters has been a focus of criminal policy in North Rhine-Westphalia, there are now regularly such teams.
In the abuse complex in Münster, the BAO bore the name "Rose" because the main perpetrator abused his victims in a gazebo.
In the case of Marcus R., the Cologne BAO is called a "list" because the officials also found several detailed lists on him that he had apparently created in order to somehow keep track of the flood of his terrible pictures and films.
In addition, R. meticulously kept records of other perpetrators, their addresses and sexual preferences.
The BAO is still tracking down other perpetrators.
Proceedings are now under way against around 130 suspects.
Connection to the Munster case
The investigators also found a link to the Münster case.
Marcus R. watched Adrian V. abuse via video chat, expressed wishes and gave instructions.
In the proceedings against V., the Münster investigators had not been able to unmask R., who was acting under the nickname “Jan” in the chat.
The breakthrough came only with the arrest of childminder Sönke G. in Berlin, who, like R., had used the babysitter scam to gain access to small children.
Secured chats showed which flights “Jan” had taken to the capital for community activities and which hotels he had stayed in.
"Jan" could be identified as Marcus R. with the help of such "cross hits".
The Cologne investigators chose a day in early December a year ago to access him.
R. sat in his study with several screens.
On the left, he was downloading child pornography, while on a screen on the right, he was video-conferencing unsuspecting co-workers.
Marcus R. has fully confessed to his actions – which he meticulously documented on videos and photos anyway – and has his defense attorney repeat this confession in court.
R. will answer extensive questions himself as the process progresses.
He wanted to save the victims from having to testify as witnesses and also wanted to pay them “short-term” compensation for pain and suffering.
"Perhaps it wasn't all that wrong that the press called my client a monster," says the defense attorney.
But now there is "a different personality in court, no longer the monster that everyone has to fear".
R. had already cooperated extensively during the investigation, even revealing his Darknet identity, which allowed further pedo-criminals to be exposed.
"My client wants to continue on this path."