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View Poll Results: Was Marc Dutroux involved with a "black network"?
No 7 87.50%
Yes 1 12.50%
Voters: 8. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 24th January 2011, 10:55 AM   #1
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Question Did Marc Dutroux conspire with others?

BBC did a Correspondent series Programme on the Dutroux Affair.
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What theories have skeptics debunked surrounding the idea that Dutroux did not work alone? Was there a "black network" involved with Dutroux?
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Old 24th January 2011, 11:11 AM   #2
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Is there any hard evidence of Jean-Pierre De Batz misconduct in the investigation? Has he been cleared of all charges supposing as such?
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Old 24th January 2011, 04:24 PM   #3
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Insufficient information to determine a reasoned conclusion.
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Old 24th January 2011, 05:51 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by catsmate1 View Post
Insufficient information to determine a reasoned conclusion.
So just ignore it/forget it? Or learn more about it? Did you get a chance to watch the BBC Programme? Any thoughts from viewing it if you have?
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Old 25th January 2011, 05:30 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by JCM View Post
What theories have skeptics debunked surrounding the idea that Dutroux did not work alone? Was there a "black network" involved with Dutroux?
Do you read Dutch?
I remember seeing a documentary on the Dutroux case years ago on Dutch TV - that may very well have been the same as this one. The documentary leaves an uncanny feeling that there is more to it than just Marc Dutroux and his direct accomplices - the documentary only mentions Michel Nihoul, but his Dutch wiki page (see the inset to the right) mentions three more, including his wife.

The allegation that Dutroux was part of a "black network" which included many high-placed Belgian officials hinges on the testimony of Regina Louf, a.k.a. Witness X1, and the credibility of her interrogation. To cut right to the chase: I found this article from 1998 by Prof. Harald Merckelbach, a well-known Dutch forensic psychologist, titled "The truth was much worse - Rise and Fall of Witness X1", on the site of the Dutch society Skepsis. In it, he convincingly argues that she was not a credible witness. After detective Patrick de Baets (mind your spelling! ) had been taken off the case, she was diagnosed by Belgian psychiatrists with Multiple Personality Disorder, and thus they concluded she had been the victim of grave sexual abuse. Merckelbach argues that MPD is a very controversial diagnosis, and that her alleged memories of a very young age (before 3) are confabulations, and that the Belgian psychiatrists had failed to do standard psychological tests to test the credibility of her memory. As to X1's testimony to detective De Baets, he cites one published part and shows how De Baets made errors - while she identified another portrait, he still wrote down she identified Christine van Hees, "based on non-verbal cues" - which he used selectively. De Baets had gotten a reputation in dealing with financial fraud cases, he was certainly not trained to do this kind of investigations. Merckelbach suspects (as the authorities) that De Baets led Regina to give certain testimony and fed her with facts - he also mentions a couple of capital errors in her testimony, e.g., she places the murder of Katrien de Cuyper eight months too early and her description of the castle where that took place has grave errors.

You may also look at this conspiracy site which lists Regina Louf's alleged life. You may note she was born in 1969, so much older than the other Dutroux victims, and with her age she fits in perfectly with the "satanic abuse" craze of the late 1980s, begin 1990s - the craze was a bit later here in Europe than in the US - and her story is very typical of other such stories. We now know that this whole satanic abuse craze was a load of codswallop and the MPD (or Dissociative Identity Disorder) is still a very controversial diagnosis.

Lastly, the book that was mentioned in the documentary is online (in Dutch) - it's massive, I haven't read it, but you might be interested.
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Old 25th January 2011, 05:58 AM   #6
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This poll would be improved by the addition of an "I don't know" option.

Dave
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Old 25th January 2011, 06:42 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by JCM View Post
Is there any hard evidence of Jean-Pierre De Batz misconduct in the investigation? Has he been cleared of all charges supposing as such?
He has been exonerated of the charges, which were that he had falsified protocols of the interrogations (see e.g. this NYT article). That doesn't mean his investigation led to credible testimony, or that it was done right. From Merckelbach's description, it was on par with the reports I've seen about in the press and online about other "satanic abuse" cases (mostly in the Netherlands) - i.e., shoddy and amateurish.

The article of Merckelbach I cited earlier is a condensed version of this 10-page article in a Dutch journal, unfortunately behind a paywall. In this English article, he also mentions the case, but more in passing.

Originally Posted by Dave Rogers View Post
This poll would be improved by the addition of an "I don't know" option.
I agree. Given the current options, I voted "no" meaning "no credible evidence has been found".

The "satanic abuse" angle for me is the clincher. The stories these girls tell are so outrageous as to be unbelievable. Just read through the paragraph on Regina Louf in the last link I gave. Apart from the psychological angle - that MPD is a controversial diagnosis, to put it mildly - physically it doesn't add up. The level and kind of abuse mentioned, routinely being stabbed and cut with knives, must have left scars all over, yet we never hear of those, and see a perfectly fair girl on video. The numbers of babies and abortions also invariably are biologically impossible.
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Old 25th January 2011, 12:12 PM   #8
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I answered no, because there was no Planet X option and I don't have any clue who Dutroux is.

And what is wrong with him having black friends? Sounds racist to me.
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Old 25th January 2011, 06:59 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Spindrift View Post
I answered no, because there was no Planet X option and I don't have any clue who Dutroux is.

And what is wrong with him having black friends? Sounds racist to me.
Marc Dutroux is a Belgian serial killer and child molester who was apprehended in 1996 with two teenage girls locked up in his basement, and two others were found interred in the garden of another house of his; and there were more victims. The case quite shocked Belgium because of the apparent incompetence of the police: they knew about him from previous convictions and the police had been tipped by an informant about the two girls in his basement.

The investigation in the case was also marred by incompetence and blundering. The investigative judge was removed from the case because he had violated the semblance of impartiality in the so-called "spaghetti case": at a charity function organized by parents of victims, he had accepted a plate of spaghetti and a pen as gifts (total value: 27 euro) and he was replaced by a judge for whom it was the first case. The investigation lasted a whopping 8 years before trial started. At one time, Dutroux managed to escape from his pre-trial arrest - and he was again arrested after 8 hours on the loose. Two ministers left office over that.

During the investigation, there were quite some rumors and speculations that Dutroux didn't act alone but was only a small cog in a wider hidden pedophile network of high-placed persons: judges, politicians, captains of industry, etc. The leads for this came from an anonymous witness X1, but her testimony came led to nothing. Ditto for a couple of other anonymous witnesses. There are still some "believers" who think this was a cover-up.

I linked above also to a 550 page book from 1999 that is available via Scribd and which apparently is a source for "believers". If you want, you can also search the internet for the whole Dutroux case file, because it has been leaked. Of course, most sources are in Dutch (and/or French). I must say, I don't feel like trawling through all the material of the "believers" and what I've found thus far on the internet is quite scarce compared to, say, the Amanda Knox case, and lacks a credible consistent story.

I did find a nice newspaper article (in Dutch again) that sums up what happened with witness X1, or Regina Louf as she actually is called.

After Dutroux was arrested, she came forward in September 1996 and began to give testimony to detective De Baets, who was actually specialized in fiscal fraud cases. De Baets got a team of 50 men, but after half a year her testimony led to nowhere and the team also fell apart from internal dissent. The team was disbanded March 1997. July 1997, the investigative judge gave two other detectives the assignment to analyze the testimonies and continue the investigation. Start 1998, Regina Louf broke her anonymity and spoke extensively with the press. This gave the new detectives the chance to interrogate her family and (former) friends and surrounding. In June 1998, they presented their report with their findings.

They concluded there were three phases in Regina's life. Regina (born 1969) in 1989 wrote a book (never published) about her youth, in which she described having been sexually abused by a friend of the family, Tony, from 12-16 years old. She had upheld this story consistent throughout her life. Tony admitted to the abuse. She claimed a miscarriage and that Tony loaned her to friends, both of which could neither be proven nor disproved.

From 1989, Regina was active in the organization "Against her Will", which helped sexually abused women. Then she suddenly remembers sexual abuse and being loaned to others by her grandmother, from age 2 to 10. The detectives conclude that these are stories she adopted from others, and that the stories continually shift when inconsistencies are pointed out. I've read elsewhere she was herself in therapy and read books about repressed memories - I guess that also falls in this time frame.

The third phase starts in 1996 when Dutroux hits the headlines. Only then she starts to name Dutroux and his close accomplices; only then she mentions that she has been witness to the murder of several girls that disappeared in the early 1980s, and even murdered one of them herself, at sex orgies with the high-and-mighty. As it turned out, one of the girls she identified was murdered by a mentally ill person not connected to this, and another even re-appeared. From a confrontation with the parents of another girl, Christine Van Hees, they conclude that she never knew Christine.

The detectives also conclude from reviewing the interview tapes that she had never offered spontaneously solid evidence, and from reviewing the sites she mentioned that her descriptions didn't match.

So far that article, and that description seems to clinch it. Of course, if you have doubt, go find the case file and read the transcripts.

I found another recent article, from last week, about the unsolved case of Christine Van Hees, which has been reopened. This part of the testimony also features in the documentary in the OP: she was murdered in 1984 in an abandoned mushroom farm - and according to Regina Louf, during a satanic sexual orgy. The interesting detail in this article is that the farm was abandoned since 1972, and was frequented by punkers and drug addicts. Seems not quite the place where you want to organize your secret satanic rituals.
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Old 26th January 2011, 07:31 AM   #10
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@ddt - Thank you for the synopsis.

I stick by my no vote.
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Old 27th January 2011, 09:11 AM   #11
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Police and court officials are just human beings. They can be incompetant and blundering without it being a conspiracy.
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Old 28th January 2011, 01:52 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by CptColumbo View Post
Police and court officials are just human beings. They can be incompetant and blundering without it being a conspiracy.
The conspiracy is that of the crime not of it's cover-up or judicial proceedings. The criminal collusion is the conspiracy the thread's topic question involves
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Old 30th January 2011, 08:18 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by JCM View Post
The conspiracy is that of the crime not of it's cover-up or judicial proceedings. The criminal collusion is the conspiracy the thread's topic question involves
Well, both allegations have been made in the Dutroux case, and I'll comment on both.

But what is your take on the matter? I realize it's a bit hard with only scarce English material around it - and whatever I came across in English invariably ends up mentioning the Bilderberg, Illuminati or Lizard people - but there's always Google translate.

Anyway, I did some more reading up on the case. See my next post.
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Old 30th January 2011, 08:29 PM   #14
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Belgian society and politics

Traditionally, Belgian society has been pillarized: trade unions, newspapers, schools, and all kinds of other organizations have close ties to one of the three main political parties (socialist, catholic, liberal). The dominant political party in Flanders has been the catholic CVP, while in Wallonia it was the socialist PS. Moreover, Belgian society was heavily politicized: clientelism, or political patronage, was endemic. Many people were appointed, or advanced in their careers, due to their political friends. There are also close ties between politics and industry.

Belgian police and justice

Before the Dutroux affair, Belgium had three police forces. First, local police in each municipality, which is not interesting for (major) criminal investigations, however. Secondly, there was the Gerechtelijke Politie, (GP, "Judicial police") which is organized into regional corpses linked to each of the 22 district courts. They are meant to do investigations on orders of investigative judges. Thirdly, and the biggest was the Rijkswacht (Gendarmerie). There are continuous tribal wars between the GP and the Rijkswacht, and they challenged each other's competences to investigate certain cases. For instance, at the moment the Dutroux case breaks, the rule is that tax fraud cases (De Baets' specialty) are investigated by the Rijkswacht, but there is discussion that this competence will be transferred to the GP. Moreover, the Rijkswacht is often called a "state within the state" with its own agenda. And there is talk that the Rijkswacht harbours quite a number of criminals - Madani Bouhouche is an example of a Rijkswacht officer gone rogue.

Justice is organized into 22 district courts with each their own public prosecutors, investigative judges and judges. Often political appointments, as with (senior) Rijkswacht officers. There is often a lack of coordination and communication between the various districts, which hampers investigations that transcend the region (like the Dutroux case). The Belgium justice system also had a tendency to investigate cases until all options were exhausted, causing long investigations before a case at last went to trial. There were also many rumours that cases languish or are not pursued due to political pressure. The murder of André Cools is a case in point.

All in all, Belgians were not only distrusting of their politicians, but also of their police and justice system when the Dutroux case broke.

Scandals before Dutroux

In the 1980s and early 1990s, a number of scandals swept through Belgium. First of all, the Nijvel gang, a series of especially bloody robberies on stores and supermarkets in 1982-1985. The perpetrators have never been found. Theories include that the gang members were Rijkswacht officers gone rogue, or were members of a "stay-behind" network like Gladio in Italy, or both.

In 1984-1985, the country was also swept by several bombings by the Communist Combatant Cells. These perpetrators were caught in 1985.

Paul Vanden Boeynants (VDB), an industrial and Walloon-catholic politician and PM in 1978-1979, was convicted in 1986 of tax fraud, and after his release in 1989, he was kidnapped - a crime that was quite efficiently solved. He was also the center of the (extreme?) right-wing CEPIC subgroup within the Walloon-catholic party PSC that is alleged to have planned a coup in 1973. VDB's name is mentioned with several political scandals, and figures in the testimonies of all the X-witnesses in the Dutroux case. Another name close to VDB is businessman Baron de Bonvoisin, who also is prominent in the X-dossiers.

In 1991, Walloon-socialist leader André Cools is murdered. His murderers were not found until 1996, and the people behind that only stood trial in 2003. The main suspect, his rival Van der Biest, never stood trial because he committed suicide.

As a result of the Cools murder investigation, the Agusta scandal broke. Notably Willy Claes of the Flemish socialist party SP had to resign because he had ordered Agusta helicopters on condition of a kickback for the SP treasury.

Finally, a pervasive rumour were the "pink ballets", that originated from the reporting on the Nijvel gang investigations. These "pink ballets" were sex orgies where the Belgian high-and-mighty entertained themselves with call girls. The "pink" label seems to point to alleged gay inclinations of crown prince Albert. Versions of the rumour include underage girls (and boys?) to attend the sex orgies.

All in all, there was enough happening in Belgium at the time Dutroux was caught to feed conspiracy theories including politicians, judges and Rijkswacht officers.

Dutroux's criminal career

Dutroux started his criminal career in the begin 1980s with things like car theft. His first wife reports that he already had deviant sexual needs in that period. End 1985 he committed a string of rapes of teenage girls, some with a short abduction (less than 24 hours). He is not yet into murder - contrary, he sets one girl free with a box of chocolates, and another gets 25 euro to get a doctor's notice why she was absent at school. His accomplice in some of these rapes, Van Peteghem, gets caught and names Dutroux, in February 1986. He sits in pre-trial arrest and is convicted in 1989 for 13 years. In 1992, he is released - a dubious decision - but with the advice to the police to keep an extra eye on him. The latter is not pursued, with tragic consequences. It is notable, though, that conspiracy sites invariably mention that he only did 3 years of the 13, and forget about the 3 years he spent in pre-trial arrest.

After his release, Dutroux lives on a disability pension and from the proceeds of his crimes - car theft, drug dealing. Thus, he manages to own seven (small) houses. He is resolved to not repeat his errors, and starts to construct the concealed room in the basement of one of his houses. His accomplice, drug addict Michel Lelièvre, helps him with this. On 24 June 1995, he kidnaps Julie and Mélissa, both 8 years old, in Liège, locks them up and abuses them. They'll be found in the garden of one of his houses.

On 23 August 1995, he kidnaps An (17) and Eefje (19) in Oostende. They are last seen walking around dazed after a show by Dutch hypnotist Rasti Rostelli. They'll be found in the garden of another house. Mid November 1995, his accomplice in car thefts, and tenant Bernard Weinstein disappears. His body, buried drugged but alive, is found next to those of An and Eefje. Dutroux claims he killed him because he hadn't fed the girls while Dutroux was in prison in Winter 1995 for car theft. December 1995, his house in searched and the police hears children's voices, but doesn't find the girls.

28 May 1996, he kidnaps Sabine (12) near Tournai, and lastly, on 9 August 1996, Laetitia (14) in the village Bertrix in the province Luxembourg. These two girls make it out alive when Dutroux is arrested on 13 August, because someone spotted his van at the kidnapping of Laetitia. Videos are found at Dutroux's place of him raping the various girls. Note also how Dutroux kidnapped girls from all over Belgium, and away from his main residence in Charleroi.

All three mentioned - Marc Dutroux, his wife Michelle Martin and Michel Lelièvre - were tried in 2004 and sentenced to life, resp. 30 and 25 years. There is a fourth suspect, Michel Nihoul, a shady businessman from Brussels, who has ties in politics and in business there, and also allegedly frequented sex parties. He confesses to dealing in drugs and selling these to Dutroux and Lelièvre. Ties to the kidnapping, rape and murder of the girls are not found and he is only found guilty for the drugs, and released in 2006.

The investigation

As far as I've seen, the investigations in the Dutroux case have fanned out in many possible directions and have spawned several "side dossiers". I dare not say that all avenues have been pursued satisfactorily - I have not read the complete case, obviously, and have mainly concentrated on the "X dossiers". These "X dossiers" are interviews with anonymous witnesses who claim the existence of an extensive network of high-ranked politicians and businessmen who organize sex orgies with underage girls, with all kind of ritual abuse and baby murder.

Existing conspiracy theories around the Dutroux case always amount to:
(1) there was such a network of sex orgies with satanic ritual abuse (SRA)
(2) Dutroux kidnapped the girls to work in that network
(3) Nihoul was the contact person between lower-class criminal Dutroux and the network
and they invariably cite these "X dossiers" as their evidence, and only these dossiers. They then claim that the personnel changes in the investigation team were politically inspired to cover the people in this network.

Dutroux has willfully fed these conspiracies: at the 2004 trial, he claimed to be part of a greater network, however, he has never given concrete names who would then be part of this network.

I haven't fully tracked all personnel changes, but I think these can adequately be explained by the tribal wars between the two police organizations, and internal wars within the Rijkswacht - and not to forget, by plain stupidity. Connerotte, the initial investigative judge, simply shouldn't have attended the charity evening and eaten that plate of spaghetti which prompted the Court of Cassation, on behest of Dutroux's lawyer, to remove him from the case.

As to the investigation, I'll highlight a couple of angles that have been pursued. As mentioned earlier, there were already all kinds of rumours about networks and sex orgies, and this only amplified when the Dutroux case broke: the networks were now pedophile networks, and they committed sexual ritual abuse. So, leads that pointed in such directions were very seriously pursued - with hilarious (or tragic) consequences.

The digs at Jumet

While in pre-trial arrest, Dutroux repeatedly hinted that more bodies may be buried. In his youth, he had lived near the abandoned coal mines in Jumet. His wife hinted that interesting things could be found there. A convicted pedophile, Jean-Paul Raemaekers, who had called at his trial that "he was a patsy for the network", fed the detectives with more disinformation about children bodies buried in that mine. Despite that psychiatrists had diagnosed him as "mythomaniac", the detectives followed this "lead" and large-scale digs were carried out around the coal mines - eight months long, from Fall 1996 until May 1997. This cost millions of euros and - of course - nothing was found.

Elio di Rupo

In November 1996, another confabulator stepped forward, Oliver Trusgnach. He accused up-and-coming Walloon socialist politician Elio di Rupo of being a pedophile. This course was also investigated, and of course, led nowhere. Di Rupo is gay, and well, apparently for many people the distinction is hard to make. He was exonerated of all charges - and today is the prime candidate to become PM in the next government.

Institute Abrasix

Another false lead was a scrap of paper found at the house of Weinstein, the accomplice whom Dutroux had killed. It was a small memo, signed "Anubis". The detectives searched for someone named Anubis and found the Satanic Institute Abrasix - one of their leaders called himself Anubis. The detectives studied the Satanic Calendar and deduced that the Winter Solstice would be the date that they would sacrifice a baby.

So, on 21 December 1996, a whopping 100 police officers descended on the institute - at just a residential home - and searched the place. They found all kinds of Black Magick paraphernalia, some bones - procured from a medical institute - and a fridge full of blood - animal blood from a local butcher. Institute Abrasix was a bonafide association for the study of satanic rituals, and had no ties whatsoever with Dutroux.

The X dossiers

Patrick De Baets was a Rijkswacht officer specialized in tax fraud, and had a reputation as such. He also had a name as a cowboy who enjoyed raiding a business and turning the place upside-down. In September 1996, he visited investigative judge Connerotte to report on his investigation into Dutroux's finances when the phone rang - Tania, a girlfriend of X1. De Baets helped him out with the phone call - Connerotte's Dutch was bad - and Connerotte asked him to pursue this lead - he trusted him better than the local GP squad.

De Baets set up a team of 50 detectives to interrogate the "X witnesses", a group of 7 girls who wanted to testify about the alleged pedophilia network. The main of these witnesses was X1, a.k.a. Regina Louf. She had been diagnosed with Multiple Personality Disorder (MPD), a by now discredited diagnosis, which entails that the patient has "split off" other personalities - alters - and that parts of their memory are only accessible via these alters. In reality, MPD and the "recovered memory" of these alters only surfaces after years of therapy - the patient is in fact a victim of her therapist pushing false memories on to her by suggestive questioning and questionable therapy, like hypnotherapy. Mostly, girls entering such therapy indeed have a trauma of sexual abuse, but the effect of the therapy is that the scope is widely expanded, with many more perpetrators and a longer range in time. Often, the false memory induces also includes satanic ritual abuse. This craze originated in the US, and via Dutch therapists also landed in Flanders. Regina had read "The Three Faces of Eve", one of the books that started the MPD craze, and had been for years in therapy. She had also been active in a Gent-based self-help group "Against her Will" for sexually abused women.

It is quite incomprehensible from this alone that De Baets fell for her testimony. The MPD craze had largely died down by then in the US, and it was also on retreat in the Netherlands - the 1991-1994 Epe incest case around Yolanda had received harsh criticism and Yolanda's book was for all there to see what utter confabulations it was. The main difference between Yolanda's and Regina's testimony is that Yolanda restricted herself to accusing local dignitaries as the doctor, the notary public, and local police agents, while Regina accused national big shots. But then, the Netherlands didn't have a large public distrust of government at the time.

But then, De Baets had no experience in interviewing sexual abuse victims, let alone MPD victims; and in fact, most of his team had no such experience. They did, however, play therapist and even brought in MPD-minded therapists to help them conducting the interviews. From October 1996 to March 1997, De Baets conducted 17 interviews with Regina, and other members of his team interviews the other X witnesses. In the end, he had no hard evidence for a network to show and his superior, Duterme, appointed two other detectives to re-read the interviews and seek independent corroboration. Very little of the testimony remained - in fact, only that Regina had been abused as a teen by Tony, a friend of the family.

It is of course easy to dismiss right out-of-hand the testimony of Regina and the other X witnesses on grounds of their diagnosis - several other of these witnesses had already also been diagnosed with MPD - but conspirators always bring up that these testimonies were "amazingly accurate". I disagree: the correspondences with reality are rather superficial, and where they are, they can simply be explained by other means.

I've read the account of her testimonies in the book De X-Dossiers - Wat België niet mocht weten over de zaak Dutroux ("The X-Dossiers - What Belgium was not allowed to know about the Dutroux case"), which is biased towards conspiracy theory, about two alleged other victims of the network. I've also read various other excerpts from the interviews as are posted on the internet, and the

Carine Dellaert

First of all, there is "Clo" as Regina first called her, her best friend in the "network". In the second interrogation, the name changes to "Flo". Her interrogators map this girl, based on her description, to Carine Dellaert, a girl from Regina's native Gent, who disappeared in 1982 and was found in 1985 in an abandoned industrial area. Regina had her age right, but that is no wonder - she undoubtedly heard and read about Carine in the local press and incorporated Carine's story into her own memories. She didn't in fact get the school right of Carine, nor did she recognize her from school photos. De Baets had taken some photos from the school Regina had pointed out, and had added a couple of photos of Carine to the stack. The other resemblance is that she claimed that "Clo" had been pregnant short before her death, and so was Carine. No wonder again - in Regina's story, it is part of the lore that comes with these false memories of sexual abuse. In Carine's case, the main suspect has always been her father, and there was already suspicion of child abuse against him before Carine's disappearance. Wouldn't her father simply have tried to make her disappear (or only have the baby disappear) upon knowing she was pregnant - in order to avoid a family scandal? (The case against the father could never be made stick, so he was never tried or convicted).

Christine Van Hees

The second is "Kristien", who was identified by De Baets with Christine Van Hees, a 16-year old girl who was found murdered in an abandoned mushroom farm in 1984, which at the time was frequented by punkers. Christine had skipped school regularly the last 3, 4 months of her life, and didn't attend her scouting group. Nobody really knew what she did, she only confided a friend, Fabienne, that she had joined some mysterious group. Fabienne's impression was, however, that this was a group of bikers of 20 to 25 years old - not a network of politicians and businessmen. Moreover, Fabienne thought that Christine confabulated this story. In this aspect, the story markedly differed from what Regina told about "Kristien". The main point that conspirators bring up is that Regina gave an uncanningly accurate description of the mushroom farm, a mishmash of connected buildings, which was validated by the son of the last proprietor. Could Regina not simply have visited the farm, which was only torn down in 1989? And as to other details of the murder, could she not simply have read the papers of the time to get the details, to refresh her "memory" of meeting another victim? Still, she had some aspects wrong of the crime scene and how Christine was murdered. Notably, she didn't identify Christine from a set of photos.

The interesting thing about the Christine Van Hees case is that De Baets' team reviewed the original file, and saw things that the 1984 investigation had not seen. In 1984, the investigation had focused almost exclusively on the punkers who frequented the mushroom factory, with a sort of tunnel vision. In 1996, the detectives found leads that put Dutroux and Nihoul near the scene: Dutroux frequented the same ice skating rink as Christine Van Hees in Brussels; Dutroux also was interested in motor bikes at the time. Christine had several friends at Radio Activité, and visited herself the radio station, which was owned by Nihoul. These leads warranted further investigation about Dutroux and Nihoul knowing each other earlier - Dutroux claimed they knew each other only in 1995 - and either or both being involved in Christine's murder. These leads were delegated to a Brussels detective team, and AFAIK, this has not been further pursued. However, that would still not have led to uncovering a big network. Conspirators claim this is due to the Brussels judge Van Espen, who has familial ties with a friend of Nihoul. However, if that's all there is to the conspiracy that's pretty thin.

The other X witnesses

Correspondence of the stories of the other X witnesses with the story of X1, Regina, does not say much. Stories that come from MPD victims are alike in their description of the sexual abuse: abuse of children from an early age (4 years or even earlier); bestiality; cutting; satanic rituals; shooting of videos. Needless to say, somehow doctors managed to always perfectly stitch up the wounds, and the alleged videos have never surfaced. Specific stories from X1 like the two above have not been replicated by the other "witnesses". The others mention largely the same high-ranking people, but that is no wonder: we've seen that rumours about sex parties (the "pink ballets") already made the rounds, with specific people like Vanden Boeynants and Baron De Bonvoisin mentioned. The brothers Count Maurice Lippens, chairman of (a predecessor of) Fortis Bank, and Count Leopold Lippens, long-time mayor of Knokke - the mondaine beach resort where Regina spent her childhood with her grandma - also figure. A number of the other X witnesses were friends of Regina, and they were the ones replicating the stories about early child abuse in Knokke - bet they were in the same self-help group as her or attended the same therapist?

A special mention here for X2. She was originally a member of De Baets' team, and decided at some point to testify, encouraged by another team member with whom she was well befriended. At one point, she testified that she was at a party at a castle, where in the gardens, the "network" people hunted on children with crossbows.

The Fall of the X witnesses

In December 1996, Duterme was appointed as supervisor over De Baets' unit. Duterme didn't like De Baets' independent style of work; De Baets, from his side, didn't like Duterme's oversight. In Spring 1997, Duterme takes De Baets off the case, stating he lied, and appoints other detectives to reread the dossier and to check the testimonies of the X witnesses. Virtually none of the testimonies of the X witnesses checks out. October 1997, Prof. Igodt, psychatrist at Louvain University, writes in his report on Regina that she suffers from DID (the new name for MPD) and that principally, her testimony must be treated as incredible unless corroborated by other data - which doesn't happen. De Baets will later be exonerated of the charge of lying, as could not be proven that he willfully misrepresented facts. He had just been very gullible and all too eager in believing his confabulating witnesses.

Conclusion

All conspiracy theories around the Dutroux case center around the testimony of a series of women who undoubtedly had suffered some sexual abuse, but gave in their testimony confabulated stories of large networks that were inspired by rumours already making the rounds in Belgium, on suggestive questioning and treatment by their therapists as well as by their police interrogators, and grafted stories from other sexual abuse victims, stories of missing children and general myth about satanic abuse networks onto that. This was, in fact, not the consequence of people in the Belgian justice and police stifling specific venues of investigation, but rather of the Belgian justice in the Fall of 1996 giving free rein to pursuing any venue possible, how idiotic it may be. By the time De Baets and his team was reined in, there was very much an attitude of "us against them", believers against disbelievers. De Baets himself was too far gone that he can step back from his initial trust in the testimonies, that he is happy to repeat his story for, e.g., the BBC documentary in the OP, or another documentary that was broadcast on Dutch TV. The culture of clientelism - that hasn't disappeared overnight - and the repeated claims of a cover-up by various people involved, and of course the general wish of certain people to believe in conspiracy theories, make that this conspiracy theory still goes around.
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Old 10th February 2011, 05:34 PM   #15
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thank you

ddt,

I can't comment intelligently on this case itself, but you have obviously done yeoman's work in your summary. I find it fascinating how many times Satanic rituals show up in theories of murders, and not just big conspiracy theory murders. I question that they are as common as the police seem to think.
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Old 15th February 2011, 10:54 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by halides1 View Post
ddt,

I can't comment intelligently on this case itself, but you have obviously done yeoman's work in your summary. I find it fascinating how many times Satanic rituals show up in theories of murders, and not just big conspiracy theory murders. I question that they are as common as the police seem to think.
Thanks for your kind words, halides.

As to Satanic rituals: I don't think those exist at all, outside of quite harmless newfangled religions that loosely base their rituals on Medieval scare tales - like the Abrasax club in the Dutroux case. I haven't heard or read any evidence to the contrary.

Until I read a bit about the Monster of Florence, the only crime cases I was aware of where Satanic rituals were claimed were not murder cases, but the large scale allegations of sexual abuse of children. The stories that were concocted around those cases then often involved ritual slaughter of babies - but imaginary babies that no-one had ever seen and only existed in the tall tales of the "victims" who were helped to "remember" those tales by their therapists. The same happened with the "X witnesses" around the Dutroux case - which I wouldn't primarily class as a "murder case", but rather a "sexual abuse case" - that Dutroux murdered his victims was quite secondary to his prime motive, viz. the abuse of his victims.

From what I've read about the Satanic Ritual Abuse (SRA) scare, it originated in the USA from an unholy alliance between therapists dabbling with Recovered Memory Therapy (RMT) and conservative Christianity, i.e., conservative Protestants. The RMT fad came to Europe primarily thanks to a couple of Dutch therapists who were the first to adopt those "therapies". That certainly has helped RMT to get a foothold in Flanders, the Dutch speaking part of Belgium.

However, not all cases of large-scale sexual abuse include SRA claims - that seems mostly up to the preference of the "therapists" involved whether they want to add that aspect to it. In the Netherlands, again there seems to be a connection with conservative Protestantism. The first well-known case was Oude Pekela. Originally, the claims were just of wide-spread sexual abuse of minors, committed by adult men disguised as clowns. After it had died down, and the police had found nothing, the case was brought again in the news by an evangelical broadcasting organization, and this time with SRA allegations. The second well-known case is of Yolanda, the Epe incest case. Yolanda and her sister "remembered" due to their therapist large-scale sexual abuse and, indeed, SRA. I haven't been able to find hard links to evangelicals or conservative protestants, but it is to be noted that the town Epe lies in the Dutch Bible Belt.

Obviously, SRA claims cannot solely be explained from a conservative Protestant background - otherwise, how would they come about in firmly Catholic countries like Belgium or Italy? And the Monster of Florence case seems an outlier overall, from what I've seen - after all, the murderer targeted adult couples.
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Old 23rd February 2011, 02:32 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by ddt View Post
...October 1997, Prof. Igodt, psychatrist at Louvain University, writes in his report on Regina that she suffers from DID (the new name for MPD) and that principally, her testimony must be treated as incredible unless corroborated by other data - which doesn't happen....
The video which speaks of corroboration
Originally Posted by ddt View Post
De Baets will later be exonerated of the charge of lying, as could not be proven that he willfully misrepresented facts.
It wouldn't automatically follow
Originally Posted by ddt View Post
He had just been very gullible and all too eager in believing his confabulating witnesses.
This claim of being very gullible and all too eager needs some substation with proof. Otherwise as shown in the video De Baets conclusions must be seriously examined. Dismissal of his investigation is key in simply dismissing the whole affair
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