The court in Tarragona, eastern Spain, sentenced Jean Luc Aschbacher, leader of the largest dismantled child pornography network in the country, to 240 years in prison, and another member of the group criminal, Christian Bernard Georges Arson, at 19 years.
Aschbacher was convicted of grooming minors – subjecting them to sexual abuse in which he himself participated , producing and distributing child pornography – and for being part of a criminal organization.
Arson, in turn, was convicted of grooming, producing and distributing child pornography, although it is considered proven that he did not abuse the victims, unlike Aschbacher.
Both men, French nationals, recruited minors in vulnerable situations to subject them to sexual abuse and record them in more than 300 footage. They also traveled as sex tourists to Thailand, among other countries.
The total number of victims exceeds 100, although only 18 between 11 and 16 years have been identified, some of them under the tutelage of the government region of Catalonia.
The criminal network operated undetected for more than 15 years, camouflaged under the legal company Productos Aschbacher, until the suspicions of a Catalan regional government official triggered an investigation by the local police.
Agents arrested seven men involved in the network in 2015, but they were provisionally released after a few months .
The two now convicted were arrested in May 2021 in France, tried in February and held in custody due to the risk of flight until sentencing.