Amsterdam police are investigating a child pornography ring which may have involved up to 50 children being abused at daycare centres and in their own homes, the city’s police chief Bernard Welten told a city hall news conference on Sunday night.
A 27-year-old man known as Robert M has been arrested on suspicion of serious sexual assault on a child. M was picked up following a tip-off from the US authorities.
The public prosecution department said in a statement the US authorities came across the suspect during an investigation into child pornography.
The Dutch authorities were alerted because a number of films and photos appeared to have been made in the Netherlands.
One photo featuring M and an unnamed Dutch child was shown during tv crime show Opsporing Verzocht on December 7. The child was immediately identified and the suspect arrested.
According to the Telegraaf the abuse happened in two city crèches – the Hofnaaretje and Jenno’s Knuffelparadijs – and in private homes where M worked as a babysitter. He advertised his babysitting services via internet.
The man has confessed to abusing ‘several tens’ of children, the public prosecution statement said. A large quantity of child pornography was also found at his home.
Two other arrests
M, born in the Latvian capital Riga, married a Dutch man and took Dutch nationality in 2004. His husband, a 37-year-old Amsterdammer, was arrested and faces charges of possessing child pornography. Another man, aged 39, who worked at a crèche, has also been arrested. Neither are under suspicion of abusing children, police said.
Amsterdam mayor Eberhard van der Laan said his main concern now is to ensure proper information and care for parents. ‘Something like this is the worst thing that can happen to a parent and child,’ he told a city hall news conference.
Police have also taken the unusual step in the Netherlands of releasing a photograph of the man to help parents determine if they have come into contact with him.