Parents in crche sex abuse case to speak in court

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Parents of the victims in the notorious Amsterdam crèche sexual abuse case will be afforded the opportunity to speak in court against main defendant Robert Mikelsons and his partner, Richard van Olffen, an Amsterdam court ruled on Thursday.

The right for parents whose children are victims of a crime to testify in court is not yet embodied in the law, but legislation is currently being adopted to include that right.

The lawyer representing the parents, Richard Korver, said a large section of the parents involved had submitted a request to speak during the trial. The court said the magnitude of the case is so exceptional, combined with the fact that all the victims are too young to speak, that it justified making an exception.

80 babies and toddlers abused The Amsterdam crèche case came to light late last year. The chief suspect, 27-year-old Robert Mikelsons, came to work from Latvia in the Netherlands in 2004. He worked as a child-minder in a daycare centre and as a babysitter in private households. After his arrest, he confessed to sexually abusing more than 80 babies and toddlers.

His partner, Richard van Olffen, is charged with distributing child pornography and aiding the abuses. 220,000 child pornography pictures During the investigation into the case, Dutch police traced some 220,000 child pornography pictures and videos on the internet. The hidden websites were found through Mikelsons' computer.

A global network of some 20 websites, including a number in the US, was used to exchange pornographic material. The FBI has been kept informed. Dutch detectives say they have come across several examples of shocking kinds of child pornography.

The research took several months because Mikelsons used a TOR network to anonymise his web activities.  

© Radio Netherlands Worldwide

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