CRIES / UNICEF (Belgium)

New Straits Times (Malaysia), 28th January 1988

BRUSSELS, Wed. – A former chief of the United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund in Belgium (Unicef) denied in court yesterday his involvement in a child sex ring and said he had been unaware of a colleague’s child-pornography activities.

“I was never aware of this …,” said Jacques Verbeeck, 63, when asked in court if had known a fellow Unicef employee was developing pornographic photographs of children.

Verbeeck, director of the Belgian agency until his arrest last June, went on trial on Monday with 13 others charged with indecency and incitement to debauchery against children.

The accused, who include Michel Felu, 46, a former Unicef volunteer worker, are said to have taken part in a child sex ring, which involved pornographic photographs of children being developed at Unicef’s Brussels office.

Other defendants include parents accused of purveying their children for sexual purposes.

A group called Cries, the Centre for Research and Information on Children and Sexuality, is alleged to have provided a front for the child-abuse ring.

Felu has been accused of using the basement of Unicef’s Brussels office to develop pornographic photographs of children which were then sold.

Challenged over Felu’s testimony that Verbeeck had known he was producing these photographs, the former Unicef chief said:

“I was never aware of this and I am surprised Felu has said anything to the contrary.”

Verbeeck said he had learnt in 1986 that Felu had been prosecuted several times for paedophilia, but that he had given him steady employment to help him rehabilitate.

Verbeeck, who said he was opposed to paedophilia, said when it became clear Felu was engaged in suspicious activities he had immediately asked for him to be dismissed.

The Glasgow Herald, 20th July 1987

A Belgian professor who was involved in a world-wide child pornography scandal has hanged himself in prison.

Professor Philippe Mulatin, 41, was the head of the sports institute at the Catholic University in Louvain-La-Neuve, near Brussels, and chairman of his local church council.

He appeared happily married with four children aged seven to 16.

However, secretly he was taking pornographic photographs of children and sending them off to clients around the world.

A parcel he sent by post broke open, and postal sorters found it contained pictures of naked young children.

After his arrest and confession, he went to his prison cell for the night, and hanged himself with torn sheets from the bed.

Prof. Mulatin was connected with a vast ring of pedophiles in Europe, America, Japan and Africa.

They were supplied from Brussels with photographs of children engaged in sexual acts with adults. Some were taken in the basement of a building used by the United Nations children’s organisation Unicef in Brussels.

Police have arrested Michel Felu, 45, the building’s caretaker, and Unicef’s Director in Belgium, Jozef Verbeeck, 63.

Also under arrest are two doctors and two mothers who rented their children for the photography sessions.

New York Times, 25th June 1987

The head of the United Nations Children’s Fund in Belgium resigned today after the disclosure of a child pornography case linked to the Belgian branch of the organization.

A spokesman at Unicef headquarters in Geneva said the head of the organization’s Belgian committee, Gilbert Jaeger, had resigned ”to show how angry he is about what has happened in his organization.”

In a statement issued in Geneva, Unicef said it is ”deeply shocked” by the scandal, which has led to 14 arrests in Belgium and others in Switzerland, France and Britain.

Unicef said it was investigating charges that the Belgian committee was linked to an organization producing pornographic photographs of children and distributing them throughout Europe.

Unicef’s mission is to help and protect the world’s children. Like many other United Nations bodies, it has independent volunteer committees in all Western industrial countries to raise money for its activities – in Unicef’s case, largely through the sale of holiday greeting cards. ‘The First to Suffer’

The Unicef statement noted that the organization spent $400 million last year on projects promoting the health, nutrition and education of children in developing countries. It is currently drafting an international convention for the protection of children’s rights, to be submitted later this year to the General Assembly in New York.

”The first to suffer from the discredit which would unjustly fall on this organization as a result of this affair would evidently be the children of the third world,” Unicef warned in the statement.

The scandal erupted last week, when the Belgian police arrested Jos Verbeek, 63 years old, the director of Unicef’s Belgian committee, and charged him with inciting minors to debauchery.

The arrest followed the discovery of a secret photographic studio in the basement of the Brussels building where the committee’s offices are housed. The studio was used to take pornographic photographs of children, many of whom were of North African origin, the police said.

The police said more than 1,000 such photographs were seized, along with a mailing list of some 400 names in 15 European countries that had been prepared on the Unicef office computer.

Similar photographs found in several other European countries appear to have been taken in the Unicef office in Brussels, according to investigators.

Among those arrested was another Unicef employee, Michel Felu, 45, who the police say organized evening computer classes for children in the organization’s offices. These children were then sometimes made to pose for pornographic photographs, the police said.