Former babysitter given 20 years in prison for sexually abusing 20 children

A district court in Japan has sentenced a former male babysitter to 20 years in prison for sexually assaulting 20 children.

The Tokyo District Court handed down the ruling to Hashimoto Akinori, 31 years old, on Tuesday.

Hashimoto was accused of repeated sexual assault of 20 boys aged five to 11 between 2015 and 2019. He got jobs looking after the victims via means including an app for connecting parents with babysitters.

Hashimoto was indicted on 22 counts of rape, 14 of sexual abuse and 20 of violating the child pornography law.

Prosecutors had demanded 25 years in prison. The defense said some of the cases were not sex-related and that Hashimoto was not guilty.

In Tuesday's ruling, presiding judge Kodama Masanori dismissed the claim, saying all of the cases involved sex.

Kodama said the defendant took advantage of his position as a babysitter, child welfare facility worker and camp volunteer to win the trust of unsuspecting child victims. He also cited strong concerns over the crimes' impact on healthy growth of the victims. He added that the case stands out among similar ones in terms of the number of victims and charges, as well as malice.