Sex-ring search focuses on cellar (31.08.96)

The Independent, 31st August 1996

Police searching for the bodies of missing girls in Belgium’s child sex scandal found “hot spots” in two houses owned by the chief suspect, Marc Dutroux, a convicted paedophile rapist. And a detective arrested on Sunday in connection with the investigations was formally charged yesterday.

At its first meeting since the summer break, the Belgian cabinet agreed on tougher controls on the early release from jail of sex offenders. Dutroux, an unemployed electrician, was freed 10 years early in 1992 after serving three years of a 13-year sentence for raping five children.

A gendarmerie spokesman, Jean-Marie Boudin, said in the Charleroi suburb of Jumet that investigators using British-made radar-imaging equipment had found two “hot spots” in one house and one in another. “Now we are using only the British apparatus in the cellar of the Jumet house. Up to now this apparatus has indicated two places of interest in the cellar.” The equipment is triggered by cavities underground.

Last night exhausted police suspended their searches until Monday. South of Charleroi, in Neufchateau, the nerve-centre of the investigations, magistrates confirmed charges of vehicle theft, insurance fraud and forgery against chief police detective Georges Zicot. Dutroux has been linked to organised vehicle theft and police are investigating the child sex and theft ring together.

Belgian police are going to Bratislava and Prague to search for missing Belgian children. Dutroux has been named in Bratislava as a suspect in the murder of a young Slovak woman. Interpol said he was also believed to have planned the kidnapping of at least one other Slovak woman. A spokesman for the Belgian gendarmerie’s special disappearances squad said they were also likely to contact colleagues in Austria investigating what seemed to be a “child-for-hire” network across central Europe.

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3 comments
  1. Troyhand said:

    http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=1129&dat=19970307&id=cedRAAAAIBAJ&sjid=BHADAAAAIBAJ&pg=5958,4487682
    Pittsburgh Post-Gazette [Pennsylvania, USA] – Mar 7, 1997
    Missing Belgian girl, 9, found dead; man charged
    By Jeremy Lovell (Reuters News Service)

    BRUSSELS, Belgium – Belgians faced a further child-abuse horror yesterday after police discovered the body of another young girl – a 9-year-old missing for five years – and charged a man with abduction leading to death.

    The remains of Loubna Benaissa were found late Wednesday in a steel trunk in the cellar of a garage just yards from her home in central Brussels.

    Garage employee Patrick Derochettem, a convicted child sex offender, was charged with abduction in circumstances leading to death as well as the rape of a child under 10, public prosecutor Michel Bourlet said. He said police were convinced the body was that of Loubna and were only awaiting final confirmation from the autopsy.

    Derochette, 33, received a suspended sentence in 1984 for child molesting. The sentence, which included medical treatment, ended six months before Loubna disappeared in August 1992 after going out to buy a pot of yogurt at a local shop.

    Bourlet said no connection had been established between Derochette and Marc Dutroux, another convicted child rapist, who in August led police to the bodies of four other dead girls. Dutroux has been charged with their murders.

    Wednesday’s discovery of the body in the suburb of Ixelles reopened Belgium’s dossier of child abuse and murder, and with it, allegations of police bungling and corruption.

    The investigation into Loubna’s disappearance was marked by charges of incompetence by authorities, accused of not taking the case seriously, failing to appoint an investigating magistrate and closing the file on her after just two years.

    Derochette was first questioned by police just days after the girl was reported missing, but he was released without charge.

    The case was only reopened in August, along with those on a number of other missing children, after the grisly discoveries following Dutroux’s arrest. He was arrested after the rescue from a makeshift dungeon in one of his houses of Sabine Dardenne, 12, and Laetitia Delhez, 14 – both of whom had been sexually abused.

    Two days later, Dutroux led police to the bodies of 8-year-olds Julie Lejeune and Melissa Russo, buried in the garden of one of his six houses in and around the central Belgian city of Charleroi. The girls had starved to death.

    Barely two weeks later, Dutroux led police to another house, where they unearthed the bodies of teen-agers An Marchal and Eefje Lambrecks. The parents of the dead girls launched a campaign complaining about police and judicial bungling in the searches for their daughters. They were joined by the parents of other missing children, and the government promised changes.

  2. Troyhand said:

    http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=1876&dat=19960904&id=N30hAAAAIBAJ&sjid=jIoFAAAAIBAJ&pg=5266,711455
    Herald-Journal [Spartanburg, South Carolina, USA] – Sep 4, 1996
    Belgian police find human remains in shed
    By Paul Ames (Associated Press)

    BRUSSELS, Belgium – Authorities found the remains of two young women under a garden shed Tuesday, and said they were the third and fourth victims of a deadly pornography ring.

    The bodies were identified as Eefje Lambrecks, 17, and An Marchal, 20, who vanished on vacation in the North Sea resort of Ostend in August 1995, the prime minister’s office said.

    Convicted child-rapist Marc Dutroux – already charged in the kidnapping of two 8-year-old girls found starved to death in the basement of a home he owned – had confessed to abducting the two young women.

    Prime Minister Jean-Luc Dehaene said they were victims of a “cowardly murder.”

    “There are no words to describe the horror of such acts,” Dehaene said.

    Police found the remains under the concrete floor of a shed to a house owned by Dutroux near the southern city of Charleroi. The badly decomposed bodies were taken away in caskets for autopsy.

    Two abused schoolgirls were released alive last month from another of several houses Dutroux owned around Charleroi, prompting the search for other missing children who may have fallen victim to what police say was a gang of child-pornographers.

    Dutroux’s wife and a police detective are among eight others arrested in the case.

    The remains found Tuesday were next to a house once occupied by Bernard Weinstein, a Frenchman believed to have been Dutroux’s accomplice. Dutroux has confessed to killing Weinstein, whose body was discovered last month.

    Investigators have been using corpse-sniffing dogs and sonar gear around houses owned by Dutroux in Charleroi.

    The cases of the missing children have traumatized many Belgians and fueled calls for tougher measures against sex crimes, including reinstating the death penalty.

    Last week, the Cabinet approved tightening early-release criteria for jailed sex offenders.

    http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=437&dat=19961229&id=hsQpAAAAIBAJ&sjid=GkQDAAAAIBAJ&pg=4356,5416123
    The Sunday Nation [Bangkok] – Dec 29, 1996
    Satanic cult link probed in Belgian paedophile case
    by Marie-Noelle Blessig
    Agence France-Presse

    BRUSSELS – Belgians have discovered with horror this week that the child-sex scandal that has rocked the country may be linked to a satanic black magic ring.

    Amid reports that police were searching a black magic institute, Belgian newspapers maintained that “child thieves or traffickers” have existed for “many years”.

    Children have been stolen from their parents or “made to order” by carefully selected families who sold the infants to satanic sects as soon as they were born, without ever registering the child.

    According to press reports, dozens of victims have fallen into the clutches of these rings. “Many are dead” and “three others, still alive today, have been identified and are currently testifying”, despite receiving numerous death threats.

    Some newspapers which claim to have met the victims say they are still terrorised by their experiences.

    The victims were interviewed at the end of November by the public prosecutor in charge of the case. They testified to suffering terrible cruelty during secret ceremonies and say they were even forced to torture young children. Their names have been kept secret as they have been threatened, the newspapers said.

    The prosecutor ordered the search of the headquarters of a black magic institute known as the Abrasax Institute, in the southern town of Fourchies La Marche on December 21.

    During the all-night search police confiscated documents, computer files, human skulls and other objects used in satanic ceremonies and a refrigerator containing jars of blood, thought to be that of animals.

    No arrests were made during the search although police filled six vans with the confiscated goods, newspapers said.

    The institute, which remains open, is run by two Belgians who call themselves Nahema Nephthys [alias Dominique Kindermans, 46] and Anubis [alias Francis Desmet, 50].

    According to Belgian media reports, investigators were led to the institute by a letter found at the home of Bernard Weinstein.

    Weinstein, a French-born petty criminal, was an accomplice of Marc Dutroux, the principle suspect in an inquiry into a paedophile ring. His body was found buried in the garden of one of Dutroux’s properties alongside those of Melissa Russo and Julie Lejeune, both aged eight. Dutroux has confessed to killing Weinstein.

    The letter, signed “Anubis”, demands that Weinstein “think of gift for the high priestess”.

    Investigators also possess a document obtained from a member of the Abrasax sect which lists 18 dates in the satanic calendar. The author of the document insists that “eight victims aged between one and 33”, all female, be found rapidly. For the Saint Winnibald on January 7, the author required “a victim aged between 15 and 33 for a sacrifice”.

  3. Troyhand said:

    Please remove Film Bio of Francis De Smet. This is a different man from the Sep 4, 1996 Satanic cult news article

    https://groups.google.com/forum/#!topic/alt.true-crime/80HiLk41oRw
    Dutroux: Abrasax – unanswered questions

    John Stevens

    One of the most controversial aspects of the Dutroux investigation was
    the the police raid on the premises of Abrasax on 21/12/1996. Abrasax,
    as anyone searching Google using keywords ‘Abrasax’ and ‘Dutroux’ can
    confirm, was a sort of witches coven which was suspected of carrying
    out human sacrifices. The chiefs of this coven (for want of a better
    word) were priestess Nahema-Nephthys (Dominique Kinderman) and priest
    Anubis (Francis Desmet).
    The circumstances that led the police to the door of Abrasax (the note
    found at Weintein’s house, for example) are documented elsewhere, so I
    will not repeat them here. But all sides of the Dutroux controversy
    seem to be agreed that the raid on Abrasax was way over the top, and
    that if *one* lead had to be singled out as being completely
    ridiculous and without merit, then Abrasax was it. The result of the
    raid, of course, was that nothing significant was found on the
    premises, 223 rue Vandervelde, Forchies-La-Marche. The priest and
    priestess freely admitted their interest in black magic, but stressed
    that no criminal acts took place.

    The raid was regarded as a dreadful humiliation for the police, made
    worse by the leaks which meant that there was a considerable, although
    in theory hidden, media presence to witness the police raid when it
    took place. After the raid, the police withdrew and licked their
    wounds. The black magic/ritual murder hypotheses were suppressed soon
    after, and never emerged again.

    What I find surprising is that way that Abrasax-related enquiries were
    never followed through. Because, even though the police may not have
    found evidence of black magic, they definitely uncovered a can of
    worms…

    The first question to ask is, could the police really have expected to
    find anything, given the lack of discretion while planning the raid? A
    very interesting police statement gives us the answer.

    Police Statement 112.039 21/12/1996 BDE CHARL JARON – INTERVIEW of
    VERBRUCH Monique (07/06/1957) – Volunteered to give a statement. On
    20/12/1996 a van containing 6 men and one woman moved, in two trips,
    cartons and a piano from 223 rue Vandervelde. Written on the side of
    the van was ‘MUSEES DES ARTS ROYAUX DE BRUXELLES’.

    Now I don’t know anything about the witness, but it is very unlikely
    that she was mistaken. She went to the police on the day of the raid,
    to point out to them that she had seen a major removal operation
    taking place the previous day! Proverbs containing horses bolting and
    stable doors come to mind…

    I would have been very interesting, of course, to know what was in the
    cartons. I have never seen or read anything, however, that indicates
    that the police followed this up.

    And Abrasax itself? It seems to have had several interesting members,
    but the most interesting one of all, by far, is Armand Van Ghyseghem.

    The three police statements below reveal information about him

    —- Police Statement 5.341 21/12/1996 CELL CHARL MORIAME – INTERVIEW
    of Willy VASSAUX
    Employed on 01/03/1994 by VAN GHYSEGHEM Armand for company SA
    MULTIDIFFUSION
    Dismissed in 06/1995
    VAN GHYSEGHEM told him that regularly made love to little girls who
    were locked up in iron cages
    He spoke about 5 year old girls
    VAN GHYSEGHEM goes regularly to THAILAND
    He was physically threatened by VAN GHYSEGHEM, just as Milka LINGURSKI
    – he mentioned the name of criminal of CHARLEROI: Jean RENSON
    VAN GHYSEGHEM is linked to ABRASAX and hangs out with ANUBIS and
    NAHEMA
    Maurice JOSTEN explained to him that during a black mass at ABRASAX a
    man died
    VAN OVERSTRAETE (lawyer of VAN GHYSEGHEM) is a member of ABRASAX
    VAN GHYSEGHEM was protected by Charles PICQUE (Ed: a notable Belgian
    politician)
    Jacques LEJEUNE and VAN CAUWENBERGHE (Ed: Mayor of Charleroi) are
    involved in paedophilia (learnt from Jacquelin JUIN – RTBF)
    They were also involved in drug trafficking coming form Turkey via the
    airport of GOSSELIES (Ed: Charleroi airport)
    VAN GHYSEGHEM had been seen in BANGKOK discussing with pimps
    VAN GHYSEGHEM was at the centre of trafficking young girls from
    THAILAND to BELGIUM and HAMBURG
    The cleaning lady of VAN GHYSEGHEM is scared to talk
    VAN GHYSEGHEM is sometimes called ABA VANGH
    VAN GHYSEGHEM attended orgies with DESSY who inherited the Forges de
    Clabecq (Ed: a large Belgian company which went bankrupt after being
    sold to the Belgian state for an enormous sum of money), and minors in
    his office.

    —- Police Statement 5.205 09/01/1997 PJ ARLON DAVIN – INTERVIEW of
    LINGURSKI Milka (18/02/1961)
    She had been employed by VAN GHYSEGHEM from 04/1994 to 05/1995
    She had stopped because of she was physically assaulted by VAN
    GHYSEGHEM
    He had a lot of money but was incompetent as a book publisher
    He was very interested in young children
    He boasted of his ‘exploits’ in ASIA
    Someone named CHARLIER said that he had met VAN GHYSEGHEM in THAILAND
    He said he was protected and that no criminal charges were ever laid
    against him
    VAN GHYSEGHEM had proposed to go with her to ABRASAX but she had
    declined
    DESSY was probably the mistress of VAN GHYSEGHEM, she gave him a lot
    of money
    She had heard vague rumeurs of a black mass at ABRASAX at which a man
    had died

    —- Police Statement 5.053 14/01/1997 PJ ARLON DAVIN – INTERVIEW of
    SCRAUWEN Lilian (03/12/1946)
    Teacher at St Peter’s College in UCCLE
    Since 1988 she copywriter for VAN GHYSEGHEM
    She refused to contribute to the PRINCE OF THIS WORLD project (ed: a
    book on black magic) because the text and illustrations were too
    ‘daring’
    She participated in a black mass at Abrasax.
    Very young children were brought by their parents and took communion
    in the name of Satan.
    KINDERMAN Dominique = Very intelligent and very dishonest.
    VAN GHYSEGHEM gave her videos containing an account of his life, in
    order to produce a book
    He spoke of his sex life and acts of paedophilia in ASIA
    No crimes in BELGIUM
    Does not have a copy of the videos; had an argument with VAN GHYSEGHEM

    Now the 3 statements do need to be read, while bearing in mind that
    none of the three interviewees liked Van Ghyseghem. And the first two
    interviewees, if not the third, knew each other. Nevertheless, I
    consider their accounts of Van Ghyseghem to be credible. In the
    absence of proof, the rumours about the mans’s death should probably
    be treated with a pinch of salt, however.

    An interesting note, incidentally, was made on 16/01/1997 by PJ
    TURNHOUT DE PROOST concerning ABA VANGH = VAN GHYSEGHEM. The note was
    based on a claim, by an anonymous witness, that VAN GHYSEGHEM was a
    friend of John STAMFORD.

    This note was never followed up but is of interest because Stamford (a
    defrocked English priest) died while awaiting trial in Belgium for
    organising paedophile trips to foreign countries (he was
    unquestionably guilty), and Thailand was one of the most important
    destinations.

    Apart from the paedophilia, the claims of Van Ghyseghem to be
    protected must be given some credence. There was a police raid on the
    company were Van Ghyseghem worked (but no-one was there, the business
    was locked up), and as far as I am aware Van Ghyseghem has never been
    questioned by the police.

    On a side note, there is a link between the priestess of Abrasax,
    Dominique Kindermans, and Nihoul. Probably not significant, given the
    ‘everyone knows everyone’ nature of Belgium, but interesting
    nevertheless. The Belgian police seem to have stumbled upon the link
    almost by chance, and did not follow it up.

    It came about through a police interview with Pierre Willems who had
    attracted their attention because of his drunk and disorderly
    behaviour in the past, while in the company of Nihoul. In police
    statement 5.058 23/01/1997 PJ ARLON DAVIN Willems says that he met
    Dominique Kindermans via Marie-Rose Alsteens who lived in the same
    house as Kindermans, and had been employeed by Nihoul in the 80’s, in
    his bar Le Clin D’Oeil. This was confirmed by the police’s own records
    which shows that Alsteens had lodged a formal complaint against
    Nihoul, for unfair dismissal, after she worked there.

    I would have expected either Nihoul or Kindermans to be asked by the
    police, at this point, if they knew each other, but as far as I am
    aware this never took place.

    Finally, Van Ghyseghem pops up in another, not entirely unexpected,
    place. This is the Belgian Parliamentary Enquiry of 1997 into
    religious cults in Belgium. This followed the catastophe of the Order
    of The Solar Temple, which led to mass suicides in (mainly)
    Switzerland, but also France and Canada. Because the Belgian
    connections were strong, and indeed one of the two leaders, Luc
    Jouris, was Belgian, there was considerable concern there. Hence the
    Belgian Parliamentary Enquiry.

    Now there are a *lot* of unanswered questions about the Order of The
    Solar Temple (just search on Google to find some of them). And Luc
    Jouris was (he committed suicide too during the mass-suicides) a very
    strange figure. But one thing that came out of the enquiry is that Van
    Ghyseghem knew quite a lot about him, and so did Willy Vassaux
    (interviewed in one the three police statements above). Van Ghyseghem
    was questioned by the board of the Parliamentary Enquiry, and he made
    the following claim. Willy Vassaux and Luc Jouris has worked together
    in the Belgian army and attempted to inflitrated ‘esoteric groups’ on
    behalf of the PIO (Public Information Office) when it was run by Major
    Bougerol. The Public Information Office, despite its innocuous
    sounding name was an extreme right organisation that existed in the
    1980’s, and although technically part of the army, essentially served
    to gather information for the Prime Minister who set it up, Paul
    Vandenboeynants. Bougerol himself never attempted to hid his
    sympathies for the extreme right.

    Alan Hope

    John Stevens goes:
    Just a side note on one aspect of your post:

    >—- Police Statement 5.053 14/01/1997 PJ ARLON DAVIN – INTERVIEW of
    >SCRAUWEN Lilian (03/12/1946)
    >Teacher at St Peter’s College in UCCLE
    >Since 1988 she copywriter for VAN GHYSEGHEM
    >She refused to contribute to the PRINCE OF THIS WORLD project (ed: a
    >book on black magic) because the text and illustrations were too
    >’daring’
    >She participated in a black mass at Abrasax.
    >Very young children were brought by their parents and took communion
    >in the name of Satan.
    >KINDERMAN Dominique = Very intelligent and very dishonest.
    >VAN GHYSEGHEM gave her videos containing an account of his life, in
    >order to produce a book
    >He spoke of his sex life and acts of paedophilia in ASIA
    >No crimes in BELGIUM
    >Does not have a copy of the videos; had an argument with VAN GHYSEGHEM

    This story published by me in May 2002:

    BEGIN QUOTE

    A Brussels court will return its verdict next week (May 15) in the
    case against four teachers and two former directors of the Collège
    St-Pierre in Uccle, accused of sexual abuse of children. But before
    the bench had even retired to consider its verdict, the result had
    been sabotaged by the prosecutors who brought the charges in the first
    place.

    The trial began in March, with six members of staff accused of
    offences from rape with violence to sexual assault to failure to
    assist a person in danger. A lower court had previously refused to
    indict a further eight members of staff. The offences concern nine
    children from five familieswho were allegedly assaulted between 1992
    and 1996.

    The court heard testimony from child-psychology experts that
    “something had happened” at the college, including one who swore that
    one child had been abused anally, and presented evidence of anal
    lesions consistent with rape. Other children showed signs of anorexia,
    insomnia and nightmares, learning difficulties and personality
    disorder, all alleged to be a result of abuse.

    But the advocate for the prosecution, senior magistrate Chantal
    Pensis, shocked the court when in her closing arguments she withdrew
    her demand for convictions on most of the charges. Rejecting the
    majority of the allegations brought against the men by her own office,
    she finally called for sanction on only three charges: one count of
    failure to assist a person in danger against the school’s former
    director-general, and two counts of sexual assault against one
    teacher. Four of the defendants saw their charges thrown out by the
    prosecution, before the defence had even had a chance to sum up.
    During the statement, parents of alleged victims left the court in
    disgust. Counsel for the victims described the move as “partisan and
    inhuman”.

    The chances of a widespread acquital next week have to be great. The
    bench is not obliged to follow the recommendations of the prosecution,
    but it is unusual to retain charges the state has already rejected. If
    it were to do so, the likelihood is any subsequent appeal would be
    greatly strengthened.

    The reasons the prosecution dropped its own charges are mysterious,
    and the prosecutor’s office last week refused to comment other than to
    refer to Mme. Pensis’ own summing-up in court. Then, she claimed “the
    allegations had failed to solidify into proofs”. One of the two
    charges of rape, she said, had proved impossible to verify because
    details in the victim’s statement could not be substantiated. She went
    along with the expert in accepting that the other alleged rape had
    taken place. But, she told the court, it had been impossible to
    determine when, or who was responsible.

    Lawyers for the families, and their supporters, saw the prosecution’s
    abdication as evidence of pressure from outside, allegations of which
    have formed a constant part of this case. The counsel for one family,
    Jean-Paul Tieleman, claimed he had been threatened by senior
    magistrates whose names he was forbidden by the official Brussels bar
    to reveal. He had also, he said, been forbidden from revealing the
    contents of a letter from a highly-placed magistrate to the
    authorities of the school.

    Then La Dernière Heure published a letter from Brussels
    prosecutor-general Andre Van Oudenhove to the chairman of the board of
    governors of the school, Canon Pierre Houssiau, who had sought
    guidance on the suspension of an accused teacher. In the letter, Van
    Oudenhove writes: “The investigation is not over. I will look into the
    progress of the procedure and keep you up to date on any new element
    concerning the accused teacher.” According to another family lawyer,
    Michel Graindorge, this demonstrates not only Van Oudenhove’s breach
    of the confidentiality of an ongoing investigation, but also a
    “subjective and partial” attitude on the part of the prosecutor’s
    office.

    Both Claude Lelièvre, the state’s delegate for children’s rights, and
    investigating magistrate Damien Vandermeersch testified that the
    school had obstructed enquiries. Lelièvre, brought in to mediate in
    1996, said: “There was never a mention of the children. What was
    important to them was to stress that the whole thing was impossible.
    They could not admit that something had happened within the
    institution.”

    And Vandermeersch told how he had arrived with a search warrant only
    to be kept waiting by the director because he “had not made an
    appointment”. The director also threatened to order his staff to
    prevent the search.

    A motion to have Canon Houssiau and Cardinal Godfried Danneels, the
    head of the Catholic Church in Belgium, charged with non-assistance,
    will be ruled on by the court on May 27 – two weeks after it hands
    down its verdict. Tieleman described the decision as “without logic.
    They knew what was going on, and did nothing to stop this abuse,” he
    said.

    END QUOTE

    The case ended in acquittals across the board, and no proceedings
    against the Canon and the Cardinal.

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