A German has been convicted in a Cebu court for taking nude photos of two teenage girls in a Talisay City motel in 2011.
Thomas Michael Ruhland, aged 46, was found guilty of ‘qualified trafficking and child abuse’ and was sentenced to life imprisonment today (Friday, July 6).
The German, an alleged member of a global child pornography syndicate, was also ordered to pay a fine of at least 3.4 million pesos to the two victims, who were aged 16 and 14 at the time of the offence.
“This court is fully convinced and so finds that the accused performed all the elements in the commission of the offence,” said Judge Jose Andal of the Regional Trial Court Branch 24 in Cebu City in his decision.
“He did maintain and hire the victims to engage in pornography by offering them money in exchange for their nude pictures. He took advantage of their vulnerability to attain his purpose of exploiting them,” he added.
Ruhland was caught after the father of one of the girls sought the assistance of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) after he learned that his daughter was in the company of the German.
NBI agents prepared an entrapment operation which led to the arrest of Ruhland inside a motel in Talisay City on February 2, 2011.
Also today, a total of 40 counts of charges related to producing ‘cyber-pornography’ were filed against seven women.
The suspects — who cannot be named to protect the anonymity of their victims, such as their own children — are all residents of Cordova town, Cebu.
Regional State Prosecutor Fernando Gubalane said at a press conference that charges of qualified trafficking in persons, child abuse and sexual assault have been filed against the suspects.
The intelligence that led to the arrest of the women stemmed from the conviction of 58-year-old Swedish man Bengt Kristofferson in 2013.
Kristofferson was convicted for possession of child pornography, conspiracy to rape children and incitement to commit aggravated rape by a court in Sweden.
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