The Brooklyn Bridge and the Manhattan skyline. Photo: Seth Wenig/POLFOTO
The 22-year-old Danish man accused of sexually abusing children in a Manhattan preschool has spoken out publicly for the first time.
In an interview with Danmarks Radio, Malthe Thomsen categorically denied the charges against him and said his experience has been “a nightmare”.
“That type of thing [abusing a child, ed.] is something that I have always thought is one of the worst things possible,” Thomsen told DR.
Thomsen recounted how he was completely caught off guard by police accusations that he had abused children at the upscale Midtown preschool where he worked as an intern.
“I can’t imagine doing some of the things they said,” Thomsen told DR.
He said the police told him that there was video evidence of him abusing the children.
“There was [an officer] sitting there who specialised in these sorts of things and she said that she had seen it with her own eyes,” Thomsen continued. “It was impossible to figure out where I stood and whether I should believe what I knew to be true or what the special detective told me. At that point, I trusted that the police told the truth.”
Thomsen’s lawyer, Jane Fischer-Byrialsen, has previously criticised the police for their handling of the case.
“I would say that this is a miscarriage of justice towards a Danish citizen in the United States,” she told DR earlier this month.
Thomsen is accused of coercing nine different children into touching his clothed genitals, touching the buttocks of an additional three children and placing another child’s head against his crotch. All of the children are between the ages of four and five.
Thomsen was released on bail last week after being held in Rikers Island, one of the most notorious prisons in the United States. His lawyer says he was threatened by other inmates while in custody.
While out on bail, Thomsen has to wear an ankle bracelet and can not leave Manhattan.
The International Preschool, where Thomsen worked as an intern, found the charges against him baseless in an internal investigation. In a letter to concerned parents, the school’s director, Donna Cohen, said that the preschool staff had nothing but praise for Thomsen.
“When these allegations were first raised by an assistant teacher several weeks ago, IPS took the allegations seriously and immediately began an investigation,” the letter read. “The investigation uncovered no evidence to substantiate the allegations made by the assistant teacher. The head teachers, and other educators who spent significant time with the class, all said they had not observed any inappropriate behaviour on the part of the intern and were highly complimentary of his work with the children.”
The allegations were brought about by one former colleague, a woman whose Thomsen’s lawyer says was fired from the preschool for “creating so much drama”.
Thomsen’s trial will begin on August 15.