Leiden residents protest pedophile housing

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Residents in a flat complex for the elderly in Leiden were not informed that their new neighbor, Benno L., is a registered pedophile.  Benno L., from Den Bosch, moved into the flat last week, but the residents were only informed of this by the mayor on Saturday evening. Mayor Henri Lenferink from Leiden informed the municipality council in a secret letter on Friday night that L. would be arriving. The council felt that it was a fait accompli, but the direct neighbors felt otherwise when they were informed on Saturday. Remaining local residents were sent a letter from the mayor's office, explaining Benno L.'s case, that he committed sexual offenses in his past, and that he has been condemned for these. Mayor Lenferink went on to explain that finding housing for freed criminals and sexual delinquents is a difficult task, with which mayors should be prepared to cooperate. Other regions declined the opportunity to house the pedophile, who received six years in prison for abusing dozens of mentally challenged young girls while working as a swimming instructor. He was freed last summer, but was soon apprehended again as he did not hold himself to agreements.

"The question if I should inform the people in the neighborhood where he lives was very difficult. I decided against that. There is a taboo on housing sexual delinquents and I made the assessment that all the commotion that this brings with it is not of importance to the neighborhood and does not contribute to the peace that Mr. L. needs to work on the normalization of his situation. "Now that this has become public anyway, I have decided to inform people in the city." A spokesperson for the mayor says that an experimental time was needed, to see if the housing would go well, after which the residents of Leiden would be informed. They did not get this time because hundreds of protesters and demonstrators appeared at Benno L.'s flat. In the Fortuinwijk in Leiden live many children and there are several schools in the area. "I can imagine that it isn't a pleasant idea for parents with children if a pedophile is living in the area. My neighbors have two little girls", a resident tells. This was a point that weblog GeenStijl also emphasized when they pointed to the swimming pools and playgrounds in the area where L. lives. "Those people do have to live somewhere", another resident says. L., will remain in Leiden for a year at most. The local party Livable Leiden says they want to submit a vote of censure against the mayor. They find Lenferink's actions unacceptable.


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