A court in Amsterdam has begun hearing testimony from nine witnesses into allegations that senior politicians knew about and used underage male prostitutes in the 1980s.
Among those implicated are Prince Claus, the late husband of former queen Beatrix, the former finance minister and executive director of the international monetary fund Onno Rudding, and former Amsterdam mayor Ed van Thijn, the Algemeen Dagblad reports.
Koos van Woudenberg, the first witness to give evidence, claimed to have been abused at a young age in the home of professor Ger van Roon in Amsterdam. He told the court he had performed oral sex on Rudding and saw Prince Claus at a bar ‘in relation to young boys’.
The main witness in this hearing is Bart van Well, who claims to have been drugged and abused for several years. Van Well said that at the age of 15 he was forced to have sex in the back seat of a car with Joris Demmink, then a top civil servant in the justice ministry.
Now 43, Van Well says he still suffers from mood swings and post-traumatic stress and is calling for the government to take tougher action against child prostitution. ‘We want to prove that the government was aware of child prostitution at the time, but let it happen,’ said his lawyer Martin de Witte.
‘Haven for paedophiles’
The second witness to testify on Monday, municipal health worker Raphael Beth, told the court he had a list of 350 boys who worked as prostitutes in Amsterdam in the 1980s.
The boys were aged between 14 and 18 years, and came from the Netherlands, the Czech Republic and Romania, among other countries. Beth, who visited ‘six or seven’ underage brothels every week, said child prostitution was completely tolerated at the time.
A secret investigation, the so-called Rolodex inquiry, was leaked in the 1990s after informants told state intelligence authorities that high-ranking justice officials – including Demmink – and prosecutors had been clients of underage prostitution rings. The investigation ultimately yielded no tangible results.
Accusations of sexual abuse have dogged Joris Demmink, who spent 10 years as head of the civil service in the justice department, for years. In 2012, several witnesses told the Algemeen Dagblad that in the 1980s Demmink had contact with Dick Willard, a notorious pimp of underage boys.
Witnesses told the newspaper they saw boys ‘no older than 15’ get into Demmink’s car in The Hague’s Schilderswijk neighbourhood. One of the witnesses said Demmink repeatedly took an ‘Arabic looking boy.’
Demmink was absent from today’s proceedings, but is expected to be present at a later date.
The hearing continues on Tuesday. Charles Maasdam, who was sentenced in 1998 for operating a child brothel in Amsterdam’s Oost neighbourhood, is expected to give evidence.