Ex-Madrid star Christoph Metzelder sentenced for sending vile child abuse images
Former Germany World Cup star Christoph Metzelder has been handed a 10-month prison sentence, suspended for two years, after he confessed to distributing sexual imagery of underage children in 2019.
The 40-year-old, who played for Borussia Dortmund and Real Madrid during his career, was appearing at a court in Dusseldorf charged with possession and distribution of exploitative images of children.
The indictment stated that Metzelder sent ten images to one witness, 16 images and two videos to another, and to a third person he sent one image between July 9 to September 1, 2019.
Metzelder's phone was seized by police who uncovered 297 child abuse files, with some images showing the rape of children under ten, the court heard.
The retired footballer denied having possession of almost 300 files, but was fined on that charge – and handed the suspended sentence for the distribution.
"I accept the punishment and I ask for forgiveness from the victims of sexual violence," Metzelder said in court.
"I will have to live with this guilt as part of society for the rest of my life.
"In these chats I exchanged extreme fantasies, and it was also about the unspeakable. I was never in forums or on the Darknet. But my fault remains for these incriminated files.
“I know the unspeakable suffering behind each of these photos. I ask for forgiveness on behalf of all victims of sexual violence. I know I am leaving a wound that may never heal."
Metzelder set up a foundation to help socially disadvantaged children in Germany back in 2006 but has recently offered to 'give back' his Order of Merit, one of Germany's highest state honours.
"He knows what he has done," Metzelder's attorney Ulrich Sommer told broadcaster RTL last week.
"He also knows that it can be called a mistake and he knows that he has to face up to his responsibilities."
Sommer also added that his client was in therapy to help him with "certain issues such as sexuality or dealing with women in certain situations."
Metzelder featured in the finals of both the 2002 World Cup and Euro 2008, making 47 appearances for Germany.
The defender was working as a pundit for Sky Germany before the accusations came to light.
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