Source: Volkskrant newspaper, the Netherlands, 03 January 2014
A man alleged to have sent a chat message planning the sexual abuse of a seven-year-old child was released without charge by police in the Dutch province of Gelderland. Although the man had been reported and was already known to police, officers did not seize his computer for further investigation.
The 59-year-old man’s teenage son stumbled upon the chat message on his father’s computer. He and his brother reported their dad to police in the summer of 2012. Reports by the Netherlands’ Child Protection Board and Youth Care Office obtained by the Volkskrant newspaper disclose previous allegations against the man for sexually abusing his own children.
The brothers, aged 17 and 19, are said to be doing very badly. This case appears to have been the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back. The eldest is living in foster care and is not in education, while the youngest is being detained in a closed youth mental health facility. Both feel abandoned by everyone and aggrieved that their dad gets to rebuild his life in peace elsewhere.
In his chat message to an acquaintance, their dad writes: “Need quick favour. I’ve been in contact with ID … who says she is a paedo mom who wants to molest her seven-year-old son in a rough and kinky way.”
He asks the acquaintance to contact the foreign mother, because his English is not good enough. Later he writes: “If this is genuine we’ll have a superb opportunity to molest a little boy. I did tell her that the school would notice something. But she keeps saying: homeschool here. Some parents prefer to educate children at home. If that’s the case, the child’s direct contacts with the outside world are likely to be limited, which would of course make this a golden opportunity.”
Lack of evidence
Two weeks after he had been reported to Gelderland police, officers brought the man in for questioning and subsequently dropped the case. “Following interrogation the decision was made to close the investigation, because there was insufficient evidence of any specific intent to commit a crime,” a spokeswoman says. “The chat message does not state ‘we’ll go and do this and that to abuse a child, there and then.’”
The father did not have his computer taken away or searched, even though that might have provided more clues as to any clear danger facing the child. According to the police spokeswoman, the message reported to police was “shocking” and in legal terms serious enough to warrant confiscation of the PC. She is unable to explain exactly why no further action was taken. “In every case police assess the circumstances, and this is how things worked out this time. Had the circumstances been slightly different, then we might have seized his computer.”
Police have not disclosed what the accused told under interrogation, nor which aspect validated the conclusion that there was “no specific intent” to abuse. According to the Youth Care Office the man defends his chat message as an attempt to draw out and gather proof on the seven-year-old child’s mother, in order to expose her as a child molester.
Since reporting him to police, the two brothers have broken off all contact with their father. He was working as a caretaker at a primary school, but lost his job as a result of this matter. He has moved to a different area of the country.The father’s relationship with his children had never been without difficulty. In 2000 the boys’ mother reported their dad to police for molesting her young sons (aged four and six at the time). Prior to that, his daughters from a previous relationship had also accused him of abuse.
The mother took her boys and fled. The vice squad detective who interviewed the children at a [child-friendly interview] studio at the time called the situation “worrying”, so says the dossier. The public prosecutor, however, found insufficient grounds to bring charges.
Talking to the Child Protection Board, the father denied any abuse had taken place and explained that his infant sons’ sexually charged remarks might have originated from the boys having walked in while a porn film was playing in the living room, and also because they might have “seen some” of the sex between him and his wife. He also remarked that his eldest son, “as young as he is,” would sometimes get aroused when sitting on his mother’s lap.
The Child Protection Board deemed it “likely there had been borderline sexual abuse” and ruled in 2000 that the father would be denied access to his children for some time. Yet in 2008, when the boys went off the rails – both with their mother, who had learning difficulties, and in foster care – they were returned to their father’s care. Although there were still serious concerns about his behaviour, the Youth Care Office supported the father regaining full custody [of his sons], arguing he was “the best available educator.”
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