Last year, a New York prosecutor dropped all charges against Danish citizen Malthe Thomsen (23), who had been accused of sexually abusing children at an upscale day care institution in Manhattan. Now he has sued the State of New York over the process, claiming $7 million in compensation, according to broadcaster DR.
After a five-month investigation brought on by a single co-worker's claims, all sexual abuse charges against Thomsen were dropped in November 2014.
This was after a hearing had revealed that all 12 of the 13 involved children denied being sexually assaulted by Thomsen. The remaining child was said to have given “indications” of sexual abuse, but no further details were presented.
The police lacked evidence in this case but this did not keep them from pressuring Thomsen into pleading guilty (although he himself pleaded not guilty, before as well as after). The interrogation process, however, was not filmed. The recording button was hit only after Thomsen had pleaded guilty.
“First and foremost, we want to establish that they acted wrongfully,” Thomsen told Danish national TV, Danmarks Radio (DR).
The many hours when Thomsen was presented with "the police's non-existing evidence and manipulating interrogation methods" were not video-recorded, according to DR.
Thomsen is therefore suing the police and the attorneys in New York for the process. He demands that the police in New York in the future film the entire interrogation processes - from the beginning until the end - and not only start filming once someone has pleaded guilty.
“This claim is something that could be benefitting a lot of people in the future,” Thomsen told DR.
Not about the money
Thomsen now seeks compensation for the legal costs related to the case, which for his parents ran up to some $200,000, according to The Times.
However, he also seeks compensation for the psychological pressure he had to endure. In addition to the interrogation, he was jailed at Rikers Island, one of the US's most notorious prisons, until being released on bail on July 8th. Thomsen told DR that he is still seeing a psychologist, five months after all charges against him were dropped.
Court room: stomach ache
Thomsen is not too excited about entering a US court room again, but says he wants to do it to end the case, once and for all.
“I have a bit of a stomach ache just by the thought of entering a court room again, but I think it will be fine. I have my friends and family to help me through it,” he said.
“Now that we have started the compensation case, it has to be rounded off before one can call it a full stop and leave it all behind,” Thomsen told DR.
Backdrop: a Danish movie parallell
Separately, the Danish movie “The Hunt” was released in 2012 with a plot resembling Thomsen's story from New York. In the film, a male pedagogue (played by Mads Mikkelsen) is also being wrongfully “hunted” for sexual abuse charges in a nursery. The movie won a number of Danish as well as European prizes, and the plot was thus vividly in the Danes' memory as Thomsen's case developed last year.