Journalist Peeter Helme denies court charge of sexual enticement of minor

Former Postimees editor-in-chief Peeter Helme.
Former Postimees editor-in-chief Peeter Helme. Source: Maris Tombach/ERR

Journalist Peeter Helme has denied guilt over charges of sexual enticement of a minor.

Helme, whose hearing started in Harju County Court Friday, said that a 2019 online chat he had been engaged in had not represented any attempt at enticement.

"There was no enticement to sexual contact or invitation to any meeting," Helme said, adding that he believed he was communicating with an adult.

The general topic of conversation, in an online adult chat room, had been of a sexual nature, he said.

"For me this was a virtual game, no different from online computer games ,which I also play. While active in the chat room, I was absolutely convinced that I was chatting with an adult, who was also playing a role game - and I was right about that, as it turned out later that it had been a police officer," Helme went on.

Helme said that the site had not had viable means of checking users' ID, which could permit what he called provocation by the police within the forum.

Helme was detained by the Police and Border Guard Board (PPA) in late November last year following the alleged sting operation, but was released after around 20 hours.

The charge sheet says that Helme sexually enticed a person posing as a girl by the name of "Marleen", aged 12, in the "Armastuse saal" online chat room over the period October 8-10 2019. "Marleen's" account was actully in use by a PPA operative, the charge sheet said.

Peeter Helme was editor-in-chief of daily Postimees From April to November 2019, but was effectively ousted in an editorial board coup.

The trial will continue on Monday. 


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