Austrian police have arrested a man near the town of Braunau for allegedly sexually abusing his wife and his two mentally disabled daughters for more than 40 years.
“We fear that he might bother his victims or continue to abuse women,” chief prosecutor Alois Ebner, who ordered the arrest, told CNN.
The sisters, now 45 and 53, have accused their father of imprisoning them in their home and repeatedly raping them and their mother, who died two years ago. They claim he forced them to sleep on a bench in the kitchen and threatened to kill them if they resisted.
The sisters escaped from their father in May, but the story only became public on Thursday when an Austrian newspaper wrote about the alleged abuse, the Guardian reports.
According to the Telegraph:
Local media reported that the women had escaped from their father’s custody after overpowering the 80-year-old during an attempted rape in May.
The elder daughter reportedly pushed her father to the floor during the attack when he banged his head and was unable to get up. A social worker found him there two days later and he was transferred to a care home but it took some weeks for the allegations to come to light.
The sisters are now in a shelter and receiving psychiatric treatment, the Guardian reports.
Police said the man is facing charges of assault, torture or neglect of defenceless individuals, threat to life or physical condition, rape and other sex crimes. The father, now in police custody, denies all charges.
Austrians are horrified to see another case of imprisonment and abuse in the news. In 2009 Austrian Josef Fritzl was convicted on charges of incest, rape, false imprisonment, assault and murder and sentenced to life in prison after keeping his daughter Elizabeth in a cellar in Amstetten for 24 years and fathering seven children with her. In 2006, kidnapped student Natascha Kampusch escaped from a cellar in Vienna where Austrian Wolfgang Priklopil had imprisoned her for more than eight years. Priklopil then killed himself.