Actor convicted of sexual abuse of child

Venno Loosaar.
Venno Loosaar. Source: Siim Lõvi /ERR

Estonian performer and host of children's events Venno Loosaar was definitively convicted of sexually abusing a young girl aged under 10 after the Supreme Court dismissed an appeal by his defense counsel.

The attorneys for the defense, Ene Mõtte and Anu Toomemägi, had sought the full annulment of a judgment by the Harju County Court and the annulment of the Tallinn Circuit Court judgment in the part upholding the county court decision. The attorneys had also sought a new judgment from the Supreme Court either acquitting Loosaar or sending the case to be reviewed by a different panel of the same circuit court. The Supreme Court did not deem the attorneys' appeal justified and did not admit it into handling.

The circuit court on June 21 left Loosaar's conviction unchanged in the main part of the judgement concerning an act of sexual nature with a child but acquitted the accused in the part concerning the acquisition of child pornography. The punishment handed to Loosaar was left unchanged, however.

Loosaar was acquitted in the part of the accusation concerning the acquisition of child pornography. The court explained that criminal liability for the acquisition of child pornography was included in the law starting from Dec. 12, 2013. Before the said date, the law only contained liability for manufacturing, storing, handing over, displaying or making child pornography available to another person. Loosaar was among other things also accused of acquiring 19 images and 4 video files on an unidentified date and storing them at his place of residence.

The circuit court explained that in order for Loosaar to be convicted of acquiring child pornography, the prosecutor's office would need to prove that said materials had been acquired at least after the legal amendment of Dec. 13, 2013. No such evidence has been collected and presented to the court. The metadata of the 19 images and four video files found in Loosaar's possession shows that the files were created on May 6, 2013.

The court explained that the conduct of the accused regarding the storing of child pornography has the necessary elements of a criminal offense stated in subsection 1 of Section 178 of the Penal Code both in the version that was valid on May 6, 2013, as well as in the version currently in force. 

The partial acquittal did not result in any changes to the punishment meted out by the county court, however.

At the end of February, the Harju County Court handed down a guilty sentence and a suspended five-year jail term to Loosaar for sexually abusing a young girl aged under 10. He was also obligated to participate in a social program.

Loosaar was also found guilty of possession of an unlicensed 16 caliber smoothbore double-barreled gun and ammunition in restricted commerce.

During the trial that started in June 2020, North District Prosecutor Arika Almann sought for the accused a guilty verdict and a jail term of five years, of which four months would have to be served immediately. The rest of the jail term would be conditional with a five-year period of probation. 

The attorney for the defense, Ene Mõtte, wanted her client to be acquitted on the charges of sexual abuse of a minor and possession of child pornography and an old smoothbore gun left behind by Loosaar's father.

The trial took place behind closed doors and no further information about it is provided to the public.

Loosaar pleaded not guilty. He has told BNS that the charges brought against him are completely unfounded and that this is an unfortunate misunderstanding.

"For 26 years, I've been doing TV shows for kids, running kids' events and concerts, learning how to tune myself in with the kids and doing it well. But I have no sexual interest in children and my soul is pure," Loosaar said last summer.

The act for which the entertainer was sentenced was committed several years ago and was notified to law enforcement agencies years later because at the time it was committed the victim did not understand the nature of the act.

During a search the police also found child pornography consisting of 19 photos and four videos, and an illegal old smoothbore gun in the possession of the entertainer.


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Editor: Kristjan Kallaste

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