Modelling agency director denies new allegations of sex crimes
Charges include aggravated human trafficking and rape
A trial on new charges of sex crimes began on Monday morning in Helsinki District Court. The trial is being held behind closed doors.
Tero Eronen, the 48-year-old director of a modelling agency in Joensuu, who has already been convicted of a number of sex crimes, is now accused of aggravated trafficking in humans, four counts of aggravated rape, several counts of rape, and sexual abuse, as well as one attempted rape.
Prosecutor Eila Velitski says that the suspected crimes took place between 2003 and 2010.
There are a total of 13 women who are alleged victims. They were between 17 and 22 years of age at the time of the crimes. The women, who had approached the agency hoping for careers in modelling, are from different parts of Finland.
The defendant showed photographers covering the trial a picture of a paper in which he disputes all charges.
In December he was given a sentence of 12.5 years for acts that are similar to the ones for which he is now on trial.
At that time he was convicted of crimes including aggravated human trafficking, three counts of aggravated rape, and nine counts of rape in 2008 – 2011.
There were a total of 12 victims at the time, and one of them is a plaintiff in the new trial.
The women had dreamed of a career as a model, and imagined that Eronen, who claimed to an influential figure in the world of modelling, could help them achieve their goals.
The court in December nevertheless found that some of the women were raped already at the interview stage, and others were pressured into working at an office offering erotic programmes for men.
In the new trial, the man’s girlfriend is being charged as an accomplice. Charges against her include four rapes.
The trial will continue through Monday next week. It is expected to be held completely behind closed doors.
Previously in HS International Edition:
Modelling agency director gets 12-year sentence for rape and human trafficking (8.12.2011)
Amnesty International criticises Finnish rape legislation (17.9.2008)
Finnish courts seen to downplay significance of psychological pain in rape cases (1.8.2011)