Man admits fathering seven with stepdaughter

KOBLENZ, February 15 (AP): A German man admitted fathering at least seven children with his stepdaughter Tuesday as his trial opened on charges he abused her, his daughter and his stepson for more than 20 years and forced the two girls into prostitution.
The 48-year-old man, identified only as Detlef S. in line with German privacy rules, is charged with 350 counts of sexually abusing minors in his care between 1987 and 2010, and with 35 counts of facilitating sexual acts with minors.
He faces up to 15 years in prison if found guilty.  The defendant began abusing his twin stepchildren, who are now 28, in 1987 when they were around four years old, according to the indictment. He first assaulted his own daughter, who is now 18, on her 12th birthday once all the children from her party had gone home, prosecutors told the court, the DAPD news agency reported.
No plea was entered as the trial opened, which is normal for German proceedings, but defense attorney Thomas Dueber read a statement in which the defendant admitted to being the father of the seven children.  Prosecutors said before the trial that DNA samples confirmed he fathered seven of his stepdaughter's children. An eighth child died before DNA tests could be done.
Detlef S., a truck driver who lived with the family in the small town of Fluterschen, near Bonn, did not address the court himself.  Outside the courtroom, Dueber said his client was not admitting the charges against him.
"He acknowledged paternity ... but paternity is not part of the indictment," Dueber said. "He's innocent until proven guilty."
Stepson Bjoern B. left the trial after about an hour, appearing shaken. He told reporters he had heard "terrible stuff" in the courtroom but felt it was necessary to be there.
"I wanted to give my sister strength to go on with this," he said. "We are in this together, and together we are trying to have the strength to live through this. It would make no sense to do this alone."
He and the other two alleged victims have joined the trial as co-plaintiffs, as allowed under German law.
Detlef S. is also accused of forcing his daughter and stepdaughter to have sex with other men for money. Two of those men also face charges and will be tried separately.  The public was cleared from the courtroom as the stepdaughter took the stand to testify in the afternoon.
The suspect has been in custody since August after his daughter came forward to authorities. A verdict could be handed down as early as the end of this month.