Dutchman accused of abusing 400 children on webcam
Dutch prosecutors suspect an Amsterdam man abused hundreds of children, some as young as 12, by getting them to perform sexual acts in front of their webcams, a spokesman said Friday.
"The man is suspected of enticing minors to perform sexual acts in front of their webcams while he pretended to be a girl," said Evert Boerstra of the public prosecutor's office in Amsterdam.
Police "retrieved images of around 400 minors from his computer," said Boerstra. He said there was no physical contact between the suspect and the children.
Details of the abuse emerged in what prosecutors called an "extensive case" against the 40-year-old man only identified as Michel S, before the Amsterdam district court.
Michel S. was arrested in July.
Boerstra added so far 56 victims "most of whom are between 12 and 14 years old" have been identified.
Five complaints have been lodged, he said.
The victims are from across the Netherlands but authorities have also asked Belgian, Spanish and law enforcement in the United States to help in the investigation especially in identifying Internet service providers.
The children were both boys and girls, and Michel S. used diverse aliases in online chatrooms to persuade his victims, Dutch news agency ANP said.
He also threatened to put the images online or send them to the victim's friends and family, it added.
The case against Michel S. is similar to that of a 48-year-old man from the town of Cruijk near the German border, who is under investigation for the online abuse of some 300 girls, some as young as 10.
Like in the case of Michel S., that suspect "groomed" his victims online, but unlike in the case of Michel S, he also allegedly had physical contact with his victims.
© 2014 AFP