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Dane accused of NYC sex crimes speaks out

Recently released on bail, Malthe Thomsen has denied abusing children at the Manhattan preschool where he worked as an intern.

Dane accused of NYC sex crimes speaks out
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.

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FOREIGN POLICY

Danish PM’s Trump remarks could signal new course: expert

Danish prime minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen has criticised Donald Trump over the US president’s decision to withdraw from the Paris climate accord, a move considered a “significant break” with the Danish government’s established pro-US foreign policy.

Danish PM’s Trump remarks could signal new course: expert
Danish PM Lars Løkke Rasmussen gives a speech at Ejer Bavnehøj near Skanderborg, 5th June 2017. Photo: Bo Amstrup /Scanpix

During a speech given to mark the Scandinavian country’s Constitution Day Monday, Rasmussen said that Trump had made the “wrong decision.”

At the speech in Skanderborg, Rasmussen said that Denmark, though not perfect, was one of the world’s best countries, before quoting Trump’s predecessor Barack Obama, who said “If we could all be like the Scandinavians, everything would be a lot easier,” reports broadcaster DR.

Rasmussen – who was one of the first European leaders to meet Trump when he visited Washington in April – then made the unusual step of criticising the US president.

READ ALSO: Danish PM: 'First and foremost I want a good meeting' with Trump

“Last week we saw a saddening example of how global leadership can be jeopardised. President Trump announced that he is pulling his country out of the global climate agreement. That is the wrong decision,” said the PM, who was himself a signatory to the December 2015 agreement, though his government was criticised at the time for cuts within green innovation and a lowering of national climate goals.

With Trump’s announcement, the United States joins Nicaragua and Syria as the only countries not signed up to the accord – Nicaragua did not sign in in 2015 as it said the terms did not go far enough, and Syria due to its ongoing civil conflict.

Rasmussen added that he remained confident in global green energy despite the US withdrawal from Paris.

“The global movement in favour of green energy conversion is only going one way – forwards. And even though the United States is now choosing to become a member of the lonely club that is outside of the Paris Agreement, development will still continue within the USA. The president may be the world’s most powerful man, but not all decisions are made in the White House” the Danish PM said.

READ ALSO: Danish PM on Paris agreement: I can't dictate to Trump

Rasmussen noted that the states of New York, California and Washington have already established an alliance for continued commitment to the agreement.

But the Danish PM said that he considered the consequences of the Trump announcement for the value of international agreements to be an even greater concern that its effects on climate change.

“It is a decision that I believe is based on a misunderstanding of what the United States’ own international interests are. It is a decision that threatens to undermine the United States’ global leadership,” Rasmussen said.

The United States is giving other countries the opportunity to step into the role of global leaders by taking a backwards step on climate, according to the PM.

READ ALSO: Climate denier Trump has Danish minister worried

Rasmussen’s words represent a “significant break” with the consistently pro-US foreign policy position the Danish government has previously adopted, according to Mikkel Vedby Rasmussen, head of the Department of Political Science at the University of Copenhagen.

Denmark has not ventured from American foreign policy positions since the end of the Cold War, Vedby Rasmussen told DR.

But the PM’s speech can be taken as a sign that Denmark is now prepared to align itself more closely to Germany, as well as France and the rest of the EU on foreign policy and security issues, the professor said.

“There is a significant break with the course followed hitherto when the prime minister says that what the USA is doing is bad and that Denmark does not want to be a part of it,” Vedby Rasmussen said.

“I cannot remember the last time a Danish prime minister criticised an American president in the Constitution Day speech – if it’s ever happened. This is therefore a clear signal that after years of alliance with the US and Britain, Denmark is now beginning to turn elsewhere to find our security and access to markets,” he added.