Swimming teacher Benno L, who faces charges of molesting dozens of young girls, told a court in Amsterdam on Friday he is ‘really ashamed’ of what he has done.
Speaking during a routine court procedure, L said he been attracted to children since he was 25. ‘I have fought against it all my life… I do not want to hurt anyone,’ he was quoted as saying by the Volkskrant.
L, 59, was arrested in June after police found tens of thousands of photographs of a sexual nature on five computers, eight hard drives, 10 cameras and 16 memory chips at his home in Den Bosch.
The photos were made in and around the swimming pool where L gave swimming lessons, mainly to mentally-handicapped children. He ran his own swimming school and specialised in teaching children with learning difficulties or who were afraid of water to swim.
Originally, the public prosecution department said L had molested at least 98 girls, claims which his lawyer now say will make a fair trial impossible. So far 47 girls on the photographs have been identified, news agency ANP said on Friday.
It is unclear how many charges L will face when the case eventually comes to a full trial.
He is also suspected of raping a girl with Down syndrome. In a separate case, the father of that girl has begun a civil case for damages against L.
L is now referred to as ‘the swimming pool monster’, lawyer Pieter van der Kruis said. ‘Does a monster stand a chance to get a fair trial?’
The swimming teacher was remanded in custody until December.
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