Holland's Got Talent finalist suspected of child sex abuse at Amsterdam playground

Jeugdland playground in Amsterdam Oost
Jeugdland playground in Amsterdam Oost. (Photo: Jeugdland Amsterdam / Facebook)

The authorities believe that 2009 Holland's Got Talent runner-up Lars de R. sexually abused children at a playground in Amsterdam-Oost. The police launched an investigation into an incident involving De R. and a child at Jeugdland, where the suspect regularly gave workshops between the summer of 2015 and the summer of 2017, the municipality of Amsterdam said in a statement on the playground's website.

According to playground's website, Jeugdland is a "natural playground" where children up to the age of 14 can play, discover and build. According to the municipality's statement, the involved parents were informed of the incident by the police. They call on anyone with information that may be related to the investigation to contact the police.

"The suspect has not been to Jeugdland since the start of the police investigation", the statement reads. De R. was arrested in August. 

De R. is also suspected of sexually abusing at least five children in the Netherlands and at least six in India. The authorities are also looking into a possible victim in Croatia. The 25-year-old guitarist is also accused of making child pornography. Pornographic material of Indian boys was found in his home, and the judiciary is also investigating a number of encrypted hard drives, according to RTL Nieuws.

A spokesperson for the Public Prosecutor confirmed to RTL that De R. is suspected of abusing at least one child at Jeugdland. "There has already been a meeting where the parents were informed. We assume that the suspect abused more children than the eleven we know of so far", the spokesperson said. He would not speculate on how many children may be involved.

During a pro-forma hearing on Tuesday it was revealed that De R. may already have abused children when he participated in Holland's Got Talent in 2009. He was 17-years-old at the time. 

De R.'s next court appearance is scheduled for January. He will stay in custody until then.