A 24-year-old man from the municipality of Schagen must appear in court in September on suspicion of child sex abuse. The man worked as a babysitter for at least 11 families with babies and toddlers throughout the Netherlands. He allegedly sexually abused a child in at least one family and made images of it, the police and Public Prosecution Service (OM) reported to ANP.
The suspect offered his babysitting services on Marktplaats for four years between 2019 and the end of May 2023. According to the police and OM, he had an “attractive rate” and probably instilled confidence in the parents through photos in which he wore a police uniform. It was emphasized that the man was never a police officer despite having been photographed in uniform. He took part in the HTV enforcement and security training course and, as such, was allowed to observe on-duty police officers.
The police arrested the man in May, seizing his data carriers and searching his home. They used a specially trained dog to help find USB sticks, for example. A police vice team then examined the many terabytes of files and discovered footage of child sex abuse involving one of the babysitting families. Other child pornography and animal pornography were also found on his data carriers.
The vice detectives informed the families where the man worked as a babysitter this week. The police and OM have also ensured that help and support are available for the families with the help of Victim Support Netherlands, the Center for Sexual Violence, and GGD Hollands Noorden. The families come from the municipalities of Molenlanden, The Hague, Zoeterwoude, Hollands Kroon, Dijk en Waard, Zaanstad, Breda, Den Bosch, Tilburg, Overbetuwe, and Nieuwegein. That covers five provinces.
Coren Fahner, deputy chief public prosecutor in Noord-Holland, said that child sex abuse and child pornography cases are always intense. “That someone abuses a child they’re babysitting hits you terribly.” According to her, the fact that the suspect presented himself in police clothing to apparently inspire confidence “crosses all the boundaries you can imagine.”
Jaap Grippeling, team leader of thematic investigation at the Noord-Holland unit, outlined that the investigation was still in full swing and that 11 families have come into the picture as the suspect’s babysitting addresses. “People can report to the police via 0900-8844 if they think the man has also been babysitting for them.” According to him, the case significantly impacted the police officers involved, who had to deliver bad news to the parents.
A second suspect has also been arrested in the investigation, a 38-year-old man from Alkmaar. The main suspect allegedly sent him the images of child sex abuse he made.
The investigation started after a citizen reported suspicious behavior by the 24-year-old. It wasn’t a report from one of the families.
The man is from the municipality of Schagen, Noord-Holland. He must appear in court in Haarlem on September 4 for a preliminary hearing.
The second suspect appeared in court on August 21. This session was held behind closed doors. The court decided to remand the man into custody for the time being.
The lawyers for both the 24-year-old and the 38-year-old have said that they do not intend to comment on the case at this time.
Reporting by ANP