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CHARLEROI, BELGIUM MURDER / RITUAL ABUSE CASE

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The Dutroux Multiple Kidnapping, Abuse and Murder Case

One of the most shocking stories of the 1990's surfaced in Charleroi, Belgium. In 1996-AUG, Marc Dutroux confessed to abducting young girls. Newspaper reports allege that he ran a business in which girls were kidnapped, that the girls were confined in cells in the basement of one of his houses, that he sold each for tens of thousands of dollars, and that he transported them out of the country for a life of child prostitution. Child pornographic videotapes are also involved.

Acting on a tip from eyewitnesses, on 1996-AUG-15, the police raided Dutroux' house. They found a dungeon built in the basement from which they rescued two young girls: Laetitia Delhez and Sabine Dardenne (12 and 14 years old). They told police that they had been raped and videotaped repeatedly. At least 300 child pornography videos were taken as evidence; some featured Dutroux sexually abusing girls. The next day, police dug up the bodies of two 8 year old girls: Julie Lejeune and Melissa Russo, who had been missing for over a year. They are alleged to have been starved to death by Dutroux' wife, while her husband served a short jail sentence for car fraud. Two weeks later, police recover the bodies of two other missing girls: An Marchal and Eefje Lambrecks, aged 17 and 19. They had been buried deeply under the floor of a shack in the garden. Dutroux confessed to raping and killing them.

These findings triggered a country-wide concern over the fate of other girls who had gone missing in Belgium since 1990. At least 15 have vanished. 9 bodies have been recovered; 2 were rescued and 4 are still missing.

Dutroux was well known to police. He had been convicted of raping 5 children, and was released on parole after serving 3 years of a 13 year sentence. Although he was unemployed and receiving welfare, he owned 7 houses and regularly received deposits of tens of thousands of dollars in his bank accounts. Police had been tipped off in 1993 that he was building dungeons in his cellar and intended to confine children there. They had received many other tips subsequently, including a 1995 story from an informant that Dutroux had offered a man at least $3000 to kidnap girls.

5 additional people were arrested. Some were charged with abduction and illegal imprisonment of children. Others were arrested on suspicion of criminal association. One was Dutroux' second wife, Michelle Martin. Another was a Brussels businessman, Jean-Michel Nihoul. He confessed that he had organized sex parties in various Belgian castles with many VIPs as guests.

Judge Connerotte led the investigation. He attended a party to celebrate Laetitia's and Sabine's return which was organized by a non-profit missing children agency, Marc and Corinne Association. The association is named after two 21 and 17 year old young women who were kidnapped and murdered in 1992. He accepted a pen as a symbolic gift for saving the girls' lives. On OCT-14, Connerotte was dismissed by the High Court and another investigative judge was later appointed. In DEC-28, a Belgian newspaper La Derniere Heure claimed that they have a guest list of the attendees of an orgy held in a Belgium chateau. It was allegedly organized by Michel Nihoul, one of Dutroux' alleged accomplices. The orgy included judges, senior politicians, lawyers, police officers and a former European Commissioner. The guest list indicates that the Commissioner "came with a girl, Josette, nicknamed JoJo the Bomb."

These events produced great agitation among the Belgium populace. Many concluded that the police could not be so stupid as to miss so many opportunities to detect Dutroux' activities and arrest him. They concluded that a massive protection operation had been in place to protect politicians, officials in high places, and the child sexual abuse ring. They also believed that the government, police and courts were currently involved in a hush-up. Many public demonstrations were held.

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Is There a Satanic Link to the Dutroux Case?

There are three elements to this case that are also commonly found in Satanic Ritual Abuse cases:
bulletkidnapping of children
bulletsexual abuse of children
bulletconfining victims in cages
However, there is no indication from the scene, from the interviews of the two rescued victims, or from the confessions of the alleged perpetrators that any ritual abuse was involved - Satanic or otherwise. The entire operation appears to have been motivated by:
bulletgreed: Young girls can be sold into prostitution for a great deal of money. Pornographic videotapes are easy to make and duplicate; they also can be sold for tremendous profit.
bulletlust: Dutroux is a known pedophile who has continually acted out his perverted sexual attraction to young children, with no concern for their suffering
But there appears to be no religious motivation for the abuse and confining of their victims. Belgium is not dealing with a case of Satanic ritual abuse here. The police have uncovered a criminal gang, not a religious cult.

It is worthwhile realizing that in spite of incredible bumbling ineptitude by the police, that Dutroux and accomplices were detected and arrested within 2 years of starting their child abuse/pornography business. This is a good indication that a full-fledged, underground Satanic ritual abuse cult could not exist for long in any country without being exposed. A long established, multi-generational Satanic cult is out of the question.

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Belgium Satanic Panic

A series of Satanic urban panics have occurred recently in North America. They were heavily influenced by the publishing of the first of the ritual abuse survivor books, Michelle Remembers (3). This and many subsequent books have been proven to be frauds by various Evangelical Christian, Wiccan and secular investigators. But they struck a chord in the American and Canadian public. In the state of Utah, for example, a recent poll showed that 90% of the public believe that underground Satanic groups are committing terrible crimes.

We are now approaching two decades after the beginning of the panics. Many innocent parents, day care center workers, and Sunday school volunteers have been convicted of ritual abuse. Many of their cases are now being reviewed and overturned. Many government studies in the United States, the Netherlands and the UK have concluded that abusing Satanic cults do not exist. No credible hard evidence of any such abuse has surfaced, in spite of great efforts by police forces over a 15 year period. The belief in Satanic abuse seems to have peaked in the late 1980's, and is now in decline in North America.

But western European countries, like Belgium, have not yet experienced the pain of a full-fledged Satanic panic. The image of the evil "witch" selling her soul to Satan remains part of Christian culture. This idea was created by the churches as an attempt to justify the three centuries of witch burnings in western Europe. It continues today in Hollywood horror movies, TV programs and in children's nursery stories. Belgium is ripe for a panic. And one seems to have started in late 1996.

Starting in late 1996-DEC, Belgian police attempted to link the Dutroux murders and rapes with Satanic sects engaging in ritual abuse. In an exact duplicate of North American and British experiences, five witnesses came forward. They described Satanic black masses attended by prominent members of Belgium society and involving the ritual sacrifice of children. They believe that the Belgium cults are linked with similar groups in Holland, Germany and the US. They claim that parents sold their young babies to the cults for money; other victims were abducted.

When the police and the rest of the public is presented with accounts of such incredible horror, they tend to suspend rational judgment. They never ask themselves logical questions. For example:
bullethow likely would the parents of a newborn child sell their infant to be sacrificed?
bullethow could a cult member canvas couples with newborns without triggering a complaint to the police?
bulletif many infants are abducted and sacrificed, how come their parents do not notice them missing and report the kidnapping?
bulletwhy has a body of a sacrificed infant never been found in North America or Europe?

The police centered their investigation on an occult group called Institut Abrasax. It is a a legal organization set up in 1990 that teaches harmfull sorcery and initiation into satanic rites" (4).

Abrasax is a deity who is seen often in ancient magick. His origins remain obscure. Reference 5 contains a Greek spell from the 2nd century CE which invokes him. Another source (6), states that the Gnostic tradition defines Abrasaks (a.k.a. Abrasax, Abraxas) as the name of the leader of the lowest class of angels which created the world and humanity.

The Institute's High Priestess, Dominique Kindersman, says that she does not know Dutroux. They are apparently a Satanic group which performs unusual rites involving human skulls and bones that they have obtained from a medical supply company, and blood that they purchase from a butcher. Their headquarters is in Forchies-la-Marche in Southern Belgium. The police raid uncovered a lot of strange material, but apparently nothing was found that indicated any connection to ritual abuse, sexual abuse or murder. The officers took the Institut's magickal tools, video cassettes and a refrigerator containing the animal blood. No arrests were made at the time or since.

It is important to differentiate between two totally unrelated religions:
bulletMedieval Satanism: a non-existent religion which was said to involve Satan worship and infant sacrifice. It was invented by the Christian church in the late Middle Ages. Stories of its existence are still being propagated in some religious circles.
bulletReligious Satanism: a contemporary religion composed of a number of groups: the Church of Satan, the Temple of Set, apparently the Institut Abrasax, and others. None engage in any form of sexual abuse or other criminal activity.
The police raid and subsequent attempts to link Dutroux with a Satanic cult seems to be based on their confusion of these two unrelated religions.

The press is now interleaving, in the same article, information about cults and developments in the Dutroux case. It is likely that if the police continue to attempt to link Dutroux with Satanic cults, that within a few months the majority of the Belgian adults will become "true believers". They will be certain that a network of Satanic cults exists in that country that is sacrificing large numbers of infants each year.

We are saddened that the people of Belgium cannot learn from the North American experiences concerning ritual crime, and avoid a great deal of needless pain and fear.

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References

  1. CNN Interactive World News for 1996-AUG-24 at: http://www.cnn.com/WORLD/9608/23/belgium.child/
  2. Peter Conradi, "Satanic Links to Belgian Murder Trial", Sunday Times, London, UK, 1996-DEC-29, P. 14
  3. Dr. Lawrence Pazder and Michelle Smith, Michelle Remembers Pocket Books, (1980), ISBN 0-671-69433-2.
  4. Leyla Linton, "Satanic sect raided by child-sex police", London Times, London UK, 1996-DEC-24
  5. Traditions of Magic in Late Antiquity: Recipe-Books at: http://www.hti.umich.edu/exhibit/magic/rb.display.html
  6. Edward H. Ashment, "The use of Egyptian magical papyri to authenticate the [Mormon] Book of Abraham, Part 2" at: http://shaggy.fusionary.com/mit/ASHMENT2.HTML

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Copyright 2001 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Latest update: 2001-FEB-4
Author: B.A. Robinson

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