Lenferink: no shame in decision pedo-housing

The mayor of Leiden, Henri Lenferink, is fully aware that he rode solo on the decision to house convicted pedophile Benno L., in Leiden, de Telegraaf reports. 

He feels no guilt about making this decision alone, he said Thursday during an extra council meeting about the issue. "I wanted to keep the circle as small as possible", he said.

The meeting ran without too many problems for the mayor. Daan Sloos, the sole council member of Leefbaar Leiden, proposed a motion of no confidence against Lenferink. This was scrapped due to lack of support. Sloos was the only one who voted for it. Other parties had many questions for Lenferink. Mainly about the fact that he kept Benno L.'s arrival a secret.

Lenferink did admit that he failed to weigh up certain issues as much as he should have. In hindsight he should have informed the municipality secretary, for instance. "And the deputy mayor, who may have been confronted with this at my absence."

About the question if he should have informed the chairmen of the various parties, he was clear. "The expansion of the circle with people with this knowledge was not desirable." Lenferink was scared that the coming of L. would have leaked. He admitted that he would have wanted to be open from the beginning, but  that the risk of a discussion going out of hand was too big to consider.

He re-emphasized that housing people like L., in a community of people is the best way. "Someone who gets shut out falls more quickly into repeating, research tells", he said. "The line that some -also here- defend that pedophiles should be banished to a quiet place, has been tried in other countries and the results aren't great. The chance of a repeat just increases."

He points out that most pedophiles who have done their time, re-join the community silently.

The council meeting in the town hall in Leiden pulled many interested parties. The public tribune was packed with about 40 people. The press was present in force as well.