The offenders used the same method nearly everywhere: lone women were encircled and touched in the breasts, the bottom, and between the legs.
In several cases, a finger was inserted into the vagina of the victim—which constitutes a rape under German law—after her clothes were torn from the body.
According to Albers, who was subsequently transferred to provisional retirement for his handling of the situation, the alleged perpetrators were all men "of Arab or North African appearance" between the ages of 15 and 35, who could not speak German.
On 7 January, several anonymous police officers from Cologne denied statements that the police did not know the nationality of the perpetrators; they told the press that "most of them" would have been freshly arrived asylum seekers.
Contradicting statements from Cologne police leaders, these officers said that the identities of many people, including those who were arrested, had been thoroughly checked, so that police knew which groups of people were involved.
The Cologne assaults were not reported by the national media for days, and The Local says many news outlets started reporting it only after a wave of anger on social media made covering the story unavoidable.
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During the 2015/2016 New Year's Eve celebrations, there were mass sexual assaults, 24 alleged rapes, and numerous thefts in Germany, mainly in Cologne city center.
Almost all of the suspects of the Cologne crimes were non-Germans; two-thirds of them from Morocco or Algeria.
68 suspects were asylum seekers; 18 were residing in Germany illegally, and the legal status of 47 others was unclear.