Germany Has North Africa’s Sex Crime Troubles

Dozens of sexual assaults and robberies were reported at the main station in the German city of Cologne on New Year’s Eve. But the offenses didn’t become public for nearly five days.

One of the country’s main TV channels, ZDF, apologized for ignoring the assaults for so long. On Tuesday, German media outlets appeared as though they were trying to make up for their delayed response by extending newscasts and broadcasting special reports. But crucial questions remain: Who committed the crimes? How many perpetrators were there? And why did it take days for the police to realize what had happened?

Witnesses and the police have described the perpetrators as “Arab and North African men” who had assembled in a crowd of about 1,000 in front of the train station. As of Wednesday, police had received more than 100 complaints from women who said they had been robbed or assaulted. Speaking to the German news channel n-tv, one woman identified as Sophie said: “I thought I was in a bad movie. A friend of mine cried really badly because she didn’t know how to move on.”