Man abused 400 kids via webcam

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Michel S., a 40-year-old Amsterdam local, is suspected of sexually abusing about 400 children, using a webcam. So far the police received five reports, the first dating from 2012, and identified 56 victims, according to a spokesperson for the prosecution to NRC.S. is suspected of manipulating minors to get them to perform sexual acts in front of a webcam, by pretending to be a 16-year-old girl. None of the victims that chatted with him ever knew they were dealing with an adult.

The suspect would threaten to publish their conversation on social media, or forward it to their parents or friends, when his victims wouldn't coöperate, never dropping his façade as a teenage girl.

Michel S. never actually shared any images he acquired through chat sessions, making his case different from Frank R.'s from Cuijk, last year. S. also kept to chat sessions, where R. tried to actually meet his victims. In at least 11 cases R. met with girls and sexually abused them.

Although S. victimized both boys and girls, for the better part his victims consisted of boy, ages 12 to 14. The investigation stretches across Belgium, Spain, and the U.S., mostly to retrieve information from providers. When parents of a minor filed a report in 2012, because S. had threatened to release images, acquired in his role as a girl, the police investigation led to Michel S. Last year in April the police raided his house and searched his computers, finding pornographic images of about 400 children on laptops, USB-sticks, DVD's, Cd's, SD-cards, and an I-Pod, according to the Public Prosecution during a preliminary hearing in the Amsterdam court.

S. works at a bank, and has been suspended, but not fired, since he is a "first offender" and had a clean record. During the hearing Friday, S. complained about having a hard time in detention. He knows he violated the law and wants to see a practitioner. Police suspect however that, after the initial raid on his home last year, S. went back into chat rooms, but S. denies this.

Michel S. has been in custody for over half a year now. The prosecution hopes to be able to wrap up the investigation in the next few months, and does not expect any more reports to be added to the 56 they have so far.

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