Police investigate reports of large-scale child abuse in southern community
Officials take about ten young girls into protective care
Social welfare officials in Toijala in Southern Finland have taken a number of schoolgirls into protective care after learning that they may have become victims of sexual abuse.
A total of about ten girls are in the custody of child welfare officials. The youngest were just 12 years old when the alleged abuse began.
Suspected perpetrators of the abuse are a group of several men about 30 years of age. Police say that sedative drugs and Satan worship were involved.
The matter came to the attention of police when one of the girls reported the abuse at a public health clinic.
Some of the girls have been taken into protective care to receive treatment. Officials say that the protracted abuse and related fear have damaged the children.
A local welfare official says that the girls themselves wanted to get out of Toijala.
The principal at the school that the girls attended said that it was apparent that the girls were suffering from anxiety, but that teachers never suspected that abuse was involved.
While the reports of actual sexual abuse came as a surprise to the adults, there had been rumours among the pupils at the school already a year ago that something was going on.