A 26-year-old Algerian man was arrested today (January 18, 2016) for his involvement in New Year's Eve attacks on women in Cologne, Germany, making him the first of about 1,000 perpetrators -- suspected of being recent Muslim migrants -- to receive sexual assault-related charges, according to the Daily Caller website.
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. An additional 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.
"You have to prove a perpetrator's personal guilt," Gazeas said. "That's problematic in the case of crimes committed from within groups, and it's particularly problematic in the case of New Year's Eve because everything was so chaotic at Cologne's main train station [primary location of the New Year's Eve celebration]."