Top Dutch Official Facing Child Rape Allegations
WASHINGTON — A high-ranking Dutch official, who’s retiring this week, is being honored for his work. But human rights advocates say Dutch Justice Ministry Secretary-General Joris Demmink doesn’t deserve praise; he deserves prison.
Demmink is being accused of raping two teenage boys, now men, during a visit to Turkey in 1990s. One of them recently shared his story on Capitol Hill.
Much like a court room, witnesses at an Oct. 4 Helsinki Commission briefing presented their testimonies to a Capitol Hill audience. But Demmink, the man they’ve accused, has yet to stand trial.
“I was afraid to say no, and I was very young and very innocent,” one victim testified, describing the emotional scars from childhood.
His identity is being protected because he barely survived an assassination attempt. That attack followed his allegations against what’s been called “the Dutch Super Elite.”
At 14 years old, he left his family in Turkey to find work in Europe. Instead of a job, he found trouble and was blackmailed into working at an Amsterdam brothel. That’s where he said he met Demmink.
“The second time we met he wanted me to go with him to his home in Den Haag,” the man testified.
He claimed he was forced to have sex with Demmink, who now heads the Dutch Ministry and Security and Justice. It’s a position the victim’s lawyer, Adele Van der Plas, said keeps him from being prosecuted.
“We can have nice laws in the Netherlands, but what when high elite people abuse children and they’re not prosecuted, why do you have your laws?” Van der Plas challenged.
The Dutch government acknowledged investigating several complaints against Demmink, both in the Netherlands and Turkey, dating back to the 1990s.
It’s official finding: “The outcome of these investigations has always been that the rumors and allegations are utterly baseless.”
H.P. Schreinemachers, a representative from the Dutch Embassy, attended the congressional hearing and criticized the panel’s findings.
“The Netherlands takes the fight against child sex trafficking very seriously,” he said.
Commission Chair: ‘Talk is Cheap’
Rep. Chris Smith, R-N.J., chairman of the commission and a leading advocate for human rights, believes that statement can only be backed up by taking action.
“If all of this evidence does not suggest that crimes have committed, I would be shocked, frankly,” he said.
News of the case is spreading across the Web with sites like ArrestDemmink.com. Its creators want to stop the Netherlands from honoring him when he retires as early as this week.
Meanwhile, Van der Plas continues to call for justice against Demmink and wonders just how high the case may go.
“I think more people — it could be that more people are maybe involved,” she said.
As for her client, the trafficking survivor, he makes only one request in addition to justice.
“Please help protect my identity because I still fear for my life,” he said.