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The football coach accused of sexual abuse sits in the courtroom of the district court at the start of the trial

Photo: Lennart Preiss / dpa

These are shocking allegations: A football coach from Munich is said to have abused and raped young players for years. The public prosecutor's office accuses him of more than 800 cases of abuse, there are said to be 30 victims.

He has also been charged with rape in more than 200 cases, and child molestation in four cases because the victim was younger than 14 years old. In addition, there are allegations of sexual assault and intentional bodily harm.

Particularly responsible for the youth players

On Thursday, the trial against the 47-year-old, who was the formative figure in his former club in the district of Munich for years, began at the Munich I Regional Court. As head coach and sporting director at the time, he was considered an authority figure and was particularly responsible for the youth players.

And he is said to have ruthlessly exploited this responsibility – as the public prosecutor's office accuses him. His alleged victims were teenagers between the ages of 13 and 19 at the time of the crime. He is said to have abused her during alleged physiotherapy treatments and in numerous cases also raped her.

Manipulations of the penis, testicles, buttocks and anus

According to the public prosecutor's office, he performed sexual acts on the young footballers on a massage table in the dressing room of the football club, at the training camp or even in his home, according to a pattern that always followed the same pattern, stating that this served to improve blood circulation in the muscles.

"The victims, who were very young at the time of the crime and also inexperienced in terms of sexuality and physiotherapeutic treatment methods, believed the accused," the prosecutor said in her indictment on Thursday. "They therefore assumed that the manipulations of the penis, testicles, buttocks and anus were curative treatments."

Defendant "shaky" during reading of indictment

The defendant had stated that he was a trained physiotherapist and had led the young footballers to believe that such treatments were common in professional sports. Even if there was opposition and the young people no longer wanted to be touched by him, he had repeatedly said that it had to be the way it was.

The fact that he was responsible for several youth teams and the young players feared being retired played a role, according to the public prosecutor's office.

The defendant, who was "shaky" during the reading of the long indictment, as he said, repeatedly closed his eyes and touched his heart several times, initially did not want to comment on the allegations at the beginning of the trial, according to his defense.

»Perfidious approach taking advantage of his position in the football club«

One of his lawyers, however, suggested a legal discussion about a so-called deal. In this case, the parties to the proceedings could agree on a range of penalties. The condition for such a deal is a comprehensive confession.

The prosecutor stated that she could hardly imagine a prison sentence of less than eleven years for the crimes, the court proposed – in the event of a comprehensive confession – a sentence of no more than eight years.

The 47-year-old would be credited with sparing the alleged victims from having to testify in court as well as "the defendant's previous life, which has so far been unpunished." The presiding judge saw "the perfidious action taking advantage of his position in the football club" as well as "the large number of acts and the large number of injured parties" as possibly aggravating the sentence.

The court emphasized that a possible preventive detention or placement in a psychiatric hospital would not be included in the deal – so it would not be excluded even in the event of a confession. Whether the defendant wants to accept the offered deal remained open for the time being. His defense attorneys said they would consider it until the next day of the trial on Monday.