In the Jerry Sandusky case Penn State officials closed their ears for years to rumors about his behavior. In the Netherlands, the alleged pedophile Joris Demmink, Secretary-General of the Dutch Ministry of Justice, has had a close friend thwart official investigations into his behavior. That friend? Himself. This cozy arrangement may be about to come to an end.
In the mid 1990s in Turkey, Demmink sexually assaulted numerous boys between the ages of 12 and 16, according to the Dutch attorney for two of the victims. They now demand prosecution. Attorney Adele Van Der Plas says one victim was 12 at the time he was brought by a police officer to Demmink’s chambers, where he was repeatedly sexually assaulted.
Now, three Dutch and three Turkish citizens have come forward publicly to identify Demmink as their molester. Van Der Plas cites four police reports that name him as a suspect. Yet, whenever official investigations have been launched, they ended up lacking “evidence,” for Demmink’s office had the last word on such investigations. His senior position in the government has caused other officials to close ranks when each investigation was abruptly terminated.
A periodic U.S. State Department human rights report on every country about human trafficking is a study in contradiction when it comes to the Netherlands. It gives it “Tier 1” status, a designation awarded to nations at the forefront of fighting child sex trafficking. Yet, its Netherlands report begins with the statement that it “…is primarily a source, destination and transit country for men, women and children subjected to sex trafficking and forced labor.”
A report from the U.S. Embassy at The Hague defends Demmink, saying, “The prosecutor’s office… concluded that there was no evidence to substantiate the allegations.” It also claims that recent statements by alleged Demmink victims, private investigators and a former police official are “unproven.” No wonder, considering Demmink’s ability to spike any investigation.
Attorney Van Der Plas minces no words: “There has never been a credible investigation into his behavior.” The reason: a criminal case would “touch the top power elite.” She adds, “If they investigate they will find massive fraud and corruption that Demmink has been able to deflect and insulate himself and many others.”
Our State Department’s contradiction has led three members of the U.S. House of Representatives Joseph R. Pitts, (PA), Frank Wolf (VA) and Christopher Smith (NJ) to write to Chairman Christian Ehler of the European Union’s Transatlantic Legislators’ Dialogue Steering Committee. They stated “that the Ministry (Demmink’s) may not be able to properly execute The Netherlands responsibilities under EU Decision 2004/68/JHS, on combating the sexual exploitation of children.” That’s an understatement.
They also asked Ehler to forward their concerns to the European Parliament’s Committee on Civil Liberties.
A letter to Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan by Rep. Ted Poe (TX) asked that the claims by young Turkish men that Demmink assaulted them when they were boys be treated “as a matter of urgency.” He wrote that “this issue should be thoroughly and promptly investigated, then handled by the appropriate judicial authorities of your country.”
In Washington, the policy director of the Rebecca Project for Human Rights, Kwame Fosu, has urged Congress to hold oversight hearings on the State Department’s contradictory report on human rights trafficking in the Netherlands. The group also held a recent street demonstration outside the New York offices of APG, the Dutch government’s main pension administrator.
Joris Demmink will retire shortly. When he does, he is expected to lose his protective shield of immunity from prosecution. He has built up significant pension funds to be paid him by APG. He is likely to take the money and run — as quickly as he can — to a country with which the Netherlands has no extradition treaty, there to continue molesting children.
The Rebecca Project has asked the U.S. Congress to pass a resolution intended to bar Demmink from entering the U.S. until “a transparent investigation… is conducted into his actions toward children.” It also wants any U.S. assets of Demmink frozen until this occurs.
International child advocates are calling on Queen Beatrix to become personally involved to make sure Demmink is brought to justice before he flees the Netherlands.
Gradually the ring of justice is closing around Joris Demmink, but time is running out. Will it fully close before he escapes? Will his enablers in the Dutch government allow him to slip out quietly or will they ensure that justice is done?
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