American who groomed Dutch girl, 12, faces jail but is too ill to be questioned

A Dutch courtroom. Photo: Odi Busman
A Dutch courtroom. Photo: Odi Busman

A 50-year-old American man who flew to the Netherlands to meet and abuse a 12-year-old girl should be jailed for four years, the public prosecution department said on Thursday.

James B had groomed the girl online and was found with her in a hotel in Rotterdam after her family reported her missing.

James B was not in court to hear the sentencing demand because he had been given permission to return to the US, to die, broadcaster NOS said. He is said to be suffering from terminal leukemia and has weeks or months to live.

The court had arranged to question him via a video link, but he was reportedly too ill to take part.

B has denied grooming the girl or sexually abusing her, saying instead that he wanted to protect her because she was unhappy at home. The girl told police that the two had a relationship and that nothing between them had happened against her will.

But this fact does not make the sexual contact less serious or less punishable by law, the public prosecutor said during Thursday’s hearing. The court will give its verdict on July 2.

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