From The Kobe Shimbun
August 5 2021
KOBE – At a day care center for children with developmental disabilities in Amagasaki City, Hyogo Prefecture, children were repeatedly stripped naked, filmed and assaulted by a man, 28, of Takarazuka City, Hyogo Prefecture. Why did this employee, who was supposed to protect children from abuse, go astray? At the trial held at the Amagasaki Branch of the Kobe District Court, the motive and circumstances were explained.
On July 5, the man stood trial on charges of indecent assault, violation of the Child Prostitution and Pornography Act, and assault, and was sentenced by the judge to three years in prison.
“When the police showed me the photos for confirmation, I burst into tears.”
At the trial, the parents of a child victim, through their representative, expressed their shock when they learned of the incident. They showed their beloved son being stripped down to his underwear and treated like a toy.
“I can’t believe that I was able to have a normal conversation with the defendant on the way to and from school that day.
The man was a qualified social worker and the director of the center, a responsible position at the facility, and was trusted by the parents.
According to the verdict, between March and August of last year, he repeatedly committed indecent acts and assaulted four boys who were users of the facility, in conspiracy with his colleagues.
According to prosecutors, around December 2019, the man filmed the naked boy’s lower body with his smartphone, and the act escalated as he and his conspiring colleagues laughed at each other.
In April 2008, after forcing a then 9-year-old boy to take off his underwear, he grabbed his right leg and forced him to spread his legs, and took a video. For another child, who was 11 years old at the time, a colleague held him up by his knees from behind while he was sitting in a triangle position and pushed his buttocks up, and then the man rolled up his pants and underwear.
The children were mentally disturbed but were not asking for help. One began to pluck his hair, and another began to reluctantly search for child abuse videos at home. He continued to release “SOS”. Details of how it was discovered were not disclosed, but the elementary school that attended school noticed something unusual. He also slapped on the head and stopped on his foot.
The man was holding a cane as he walked to the witness stand in the courtroom with difficulty. He said that the stress of his detention had caused him to suffer from an adjustment disorder and that his hands and feet had become numb.
At first, he showed no remorse, saying, “I was wondering why I had to accept such a serious crime,” but after he was released on bail, he realized the seriousness of the case when he saw his name featured prominently in the news.
During the questioning of the accused, the man confided that he had received a book from his wife.
The judge added at the end of his ruling.
The title of the book is “Okaasan, Oku no Sekai no Hanashi wo Shiteiru”. It is an essay manga about a girl who tells her mother about her memories of being an unborn child, wondering why she was born. The story depicts the miracle and joy of birth from the perspective of a child.
In response to his wife’s message, “I want you to realize the magnitude of your crime,” the man turned his head and said, “If we had a child and he did the same thing to me, I would never forgive him.
The judge added at the end of his ruling, “(Everyone) laughs at the behavior of children. But what you are doing is laughing at the children themselves, at themselves. This is absolutely unacceptable.”
Why couldn’t the man see the children as “people”? At the end of the trial, he dragged his feet and disappeared into the back of the courtroom.