For five days following the assaults the German media failed to report them.
When under public pressure they eventually did, it turned out that a string of similar assaults had also happened simultaneously in various other German cities.
Over the following week it turned out that mass assaults of a similar nature had also happened in cities in Scandinavia.
The most disturbing fact about these assaults is not the assaults themselves, or the fact the assaults seem to have been carried out mainly by immigrants and refugees from Muslim countries.
Nor is it the silence of Western politicians, seemingly embarrassed by a bad consequence of their immigration and refugee policies.
Nor is it even the bizarre behavior of some Western feminists — unsparing in their criticism of Julian Assange — against whom nothing has been proved — whilst rationalizing and relativizing the criminal behavior of immigrants and refugees from Muslim countries who carried out the assaults.
It is the silence of the European media.
The Western media routinely boasts of its independence and immunity from political pressure. It routinely criticizes the lack of independence of the media in other countries.
The Russian media especially comes in for unsparing criticism. It is routinely misrepresented as a lackey of the Russian government — a fact that completely disregards its diversity — and it is repeatedly accused of suppressing facts and opinions critical of the Russian government.
The last point is completely untrue, as the Russian media's reporting of the issue at the heart of the events in Cologne — immigration — shows.
Though the fact is little known in the West, Russia is the world's second biggest destination for immigrants after the US.
The Russian media have openly debated this issue, and the social tensions this wave of immigration is causing.
That is as it should be. In a democratic society the media is under a duty to report about such things.
Certainly it should not suppress information about mass organized criminal activity simply because it is politically embarrassing.
When the media reports such things it is a sign that it is genuinely free and independent.
When the media suppresses news about such things because it is politically embarrassing, it is by contrast a worrying sign that suggests its independence can no longer be assumed.
That is the situation we now have with the mass sexual assaults that have happened in Europe: crimes went unreported because they are embarrassing.
Those who follow the Western media closely know this is not new.
The Western media has similarly suppressed news about the Ukrainian conflict — such as the indiscriminate Ukrainian shelling of east Ukrainian cities — and the evolving crisis in the Middle East.
It continues to suppress news that challenges the official Western narratives about the chemical attack on Ghouta in August 2013, and the shooting down of MH17 over the Donbass in July 2014.
The conspiracy of silence — no other words describe it — over the sexual assaults in Europe takes this a stage further.
This time the victims are Europeans — European women freely going about their lives. Their plight is hidden because it is politically embarrassing.
If the price of freedom is perpetual vigilance, then freedom in Europe is being bargained away to suit someone's political agenda, and it is the women of Europe who are paying the price.
The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official position of Sputnik.