A person walking on the beach in the resort town of La Floresta, on Uruguay’s Costa de Oro (Gold Coast), discovered the body of Arno Wollensak (61), a German sect leader wanted for sexual abuse crimes.
Wollensak, a native of Oerlinghausen in Lipperland, Germany, founded the sect “Lichtoase” (Oasis of Light) in the early 1990s and led it together with his wife. The group, made up of 20 to 50 members, moved to Belize in Central America in 1992. While there, Wollensak is alleged to have sexually abused Swiss national Lea Saskia Laasner, whose parents were members of the sect, beginning when she was 13 years of age. After Laasner managed to escape in 2001, Wollensak and his wife were charged with multiple counts of sexual abuse or complicity in the abuse. The indictment was based on statements made by Laasner, who published a book about her time in the sect. Shortly before the opening of the trial at the District Court of Detmold, Germany in the spring of 2006, Wollensak and his wife went into hiding.
In June 2015, investigators from the German Federal Criminal Police working with local investigators were able to arrest Wollensak and his wife in Uruguay, where they had come to re-establish the sect. The German authorities requested the extradition of the two. However, the competent court in Uruguay refused extradition because the statute of limitations for the crimes had expired in accordance with Uruguayan law.