Cologne police make first arrest 18 days after 497 women were sexually assaulted

A 26-year-old Algerian man was arrested Monday for his involvement in New Year’s Eve attacks on women, making him the first of about 1,000 alleged perpetrators to receive sexual assault-related charges.

The man is accused of groping a woman and stealing her cell phone, which was in his possession at the time of the arrest according to Ulrich Bremer, Cologne’s chief prosecutor. A further 21 suspects have been charged with non-sexual offenses, with eight awaiting trial. A total of 497 women reported they were sexually assaulted…

The day after the attacks were exposed, Cologne-based attorney Nikolaos Gazeas said it will be hard to convict even one person of sexual assault, since groups carried out the attacks.