An internal document obtained by broadcaster TV2 revealed that there have been at least 12 instances at the Præstekærgaard asylum centre in which children sexually assaulted other children.
The centre is located on the island of Funen but is operated by Langeland Municipality, the same authority that is embroiled in a sex abuse case at one of its other institutions, the Tullebølle asylum centre for unaccompanied minors.
The new case came to light on Wednesday when Radio 24syv reported that Langeland officials had kept the sex abuse quiet. But the document obtained by TV2 shows that municipal officials did report the abuse to the Danish Immigration Service, Funen Police and others.
The first reported case of abuse took place in June 2015 and centred around two brothers, aged 8 and 10, who forced other young boys to take off their clothes and then forced them to engage in sexual acts. The incident was reported by the mother of a five and six-year-old, who told officials that her youngest child had blood in his underwear.
The municipal document also reveals that in July 2015, 12 of the 30 children at the family centre were examined for injuries thought to be the result of sexual abuse. The document said that the children’s injuries were “extremely difficult to attribute to anything [other than sexual assault”.
The head of Langeland Municipality’s social department said that the abuse was carried out by boys between the ages of eight and ten.
“An unhealthy culture was created in which the kids ‘played doctor’ and sex games and we of course took action as soon as we heard about it,” Charlotte Jensen told TV2.
Jensen said the municipality “acted as [it] should have”.
“It’s not as if we have personnel at the centre around the clock, and that’s not something we should have. We aren’t required to supervise that kind of centre,” she said.
Center Præstekærgaard is a centre for adult asylum seekers that also houses families. It is one of 11 asylum centres operated by Langeland Municipality.
One of its other centres, Børnecenter Tullebølle, was recently shut down when it emerged that a female employee of the centre had oral sex with at least one underage asylum seeker and full intercourse with one of the boys. The sex acts were documented via photos and video.
Municipal officials are believed to have known about the sex assaults at Tullebølle for months before reporting it.