Mass Sexual Assaults on Women Shock German City

Hundreds of men led apprently coordinated attacks on women on New Year's Eve
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 5, 2016 5:33 PM CST
Mass Sexual Assaults on Women Shock German City
A police car passes the central railway station in Cologne, Germany, where scores of women reported being sexually assaulted and robbed by large groups of hundreds of men on New Year's Eve.   (Oliver Berg/dpa via AP)

In a series of attacks German officials are calling "monstrous" and "abhorrent," approximately 1,000 "drunk and aggressive" men sexually assaulted and robbed scores of women on New Year's Eve in Cologne, the BBC reports. "The men surrounded us and started to grab our behinds and touch our crotches," one victim tells CNN. "They touched us everywhere." According to the New York Times, groups of men surrounded women near the city's main train station and groped them while others made off with their belongings. Of the 90 or so complaints filed by victims, approximately a quarter were sexual assaults, CNN reports. At least one woman reported being raped by attackers. According to the Times, no arrests were made.

Authorities say the attacks were "unprecedented in scale and nature," the Times reports. According to the BBC, the attacks appear to have been organized, with large groups of men arriving together. One witness described seeing his partner and daughter getting sexually assaulted and not being able to help them. Cologne's police chief calls the attacks "a completely new dimension of crime." Accounts describe the attackers as "North African or Arabic," the Times reports. And while it's unclear if any of the attackers actually are recent migrants or refugees, the attacks are expected to increase criticism of Chancellor Angela Merkel's plan to accept 1 million migrants into Germany. Cologne alone took in 10,000 refugees in the past year. (More Cologne stories.)

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