Ex-footballer Metzelder admits sharing child porn at German trial

On Thursday, at the start of his trial on child pornography charges, former Real Madrid and Germany defender Christoph Metzelder admitted he had shared graphic illicit images of minors online.

 

“I obtained incriminating pictures that were freely available on the internet and took screenshots,” 40-year-old Metzelder told a district court in the western city of Duesseldorf.

“I shared extreme fantasies in chats,” he said from the witness stand, in comments reported by AFP’s sports news arm SID.

 

Prosecutors say the 2002 World Cup finalist passed on 29 pornographic files to three women via WhatsApp, including one featuring a toddler in a “highly sexualized pose.”

He told presiding judge Astrid Stammerjohann that he had been interested in “transgressing limits,” not by the sexual images of children themselves, which in some instances depicted grievous molestation.

 

Metzelder said he had never taken part in “attacks on children and youths… despite the graphic comments in the chats”.

At the beginning of his testimony, he described his sports career and community service, which he had been “very proud of.”

Metzelder told the court that he shared the images, “although I know what horrible suffering inflicted on children is behind each digital file.”

 

He is ready to “accept the punishment” imposed by the court and asked for forgiveness from “the victims of sexual violence.”

According to the case against him, 297 files with sexual content featuring children or teens were found on Metzelder’s mobile phone.

His lawyer Ulrich Sommer last week said Metzelder was in therapy to help him address “certain issues such as sexuality or dealing with women in certain situations.”

 

Sommer admitted the former center-back was “shocked at himself for having had this kind of double life” but insisted his client is “obviously not” a pedophile.

Metzelder was part of the starting line-up in both the 2002 World Cup and Euro 2008 and made 47 appearances for Germany.

 

Worthy of note is that he retired from football in 2014, and since 2006, he has been running a foundation in his own name to support socially disadvantaged children throughout Germany.

 

The trial is scheduled to run until May 10. Metzelder could face a fine or a prison term of between three months and five years if convicted.

 

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