“Never in my life,” he said at the Nuremberg-Fürth regional court Monday, when accused of threatening his daughter with a knife, pulling her hair and forcing her to have sex with him.
The man, named in German media only as Adolf B., 69, admitted committing incest with his daughter, which is a crime under German law, but told the court that she had approached him for sex when she was 16 or 17 years old. “I did not undress her myself,” he said.
He could not understand why she was accusing him of rape, his lawyer said.
But the daughter, now 46, has told authorities his father started raping her when she was about 12, and continued for more than three decades, while keeping her in a state of fear, bullying and beating her and forbidding her to leave the house without him.
They were living in the family home along with the woman’s mother and siblings in Willmersbach, a village near Nuremberg.
She had three disabled sons by her father, one of whom died as a baby, another of whom died recently, while the third survived, prosecutors said.
Authorities only uncovered the case after the woman was convicted of blackmailing the wife of a doctor she blamed for the disability of one of her sons. She was assigned a parole officer who won her trust and eventually heard her story.
Monday’s trial opening began amid great media interest with Adolf B. hiding his face from cameras as he was wheeled into the courtroom in a wheelchair due to a foot injury.
He seemed to have difficulty understanding many of the term used in court, and his lawyer often had to repeat and explain questions asked.
The daughter’s lawyer Andrea Kühne, said her client was “shocked and furious” at her father’s statement that the sex was consensual. “My client would never have pressed charges if she had felt that way.”
The state prosecutor can only charge him with rapes from the last 20 years, since the statute of limitations has expired for earlier offences. Only 28 counts of incest can be lodged because its statute of limitations is five years.
The trial is expected to last six days and call 24 witnesses and three experts. If convicted, the accused would face between two and 15 years in prison, a court spokesman told The Local. The verdict is scheduled to be read on December 19.
The case has inevitably drawn comparisons to that of Josef Fritzl, the Austrian man who imprisoned his daughter in a cellar for more than two decades while repeatedly raping her and fathering several children.