Five soldiers prosecuted for sexually abusing, humiliating colleagues: report
The Public Prosecution Service will prosecute five former soldiers of the Airmobile Brigade at the Oranje barracks in Schaarsbergen for sexually abusing, harassing and humiliating three of their colleagues, the Telegraaf reports.
The Prosecutor refused to confirm this to NOS, because not all those involved have been informed yet.
Three soldiers pressed charges against a total of nine colleagues, accusing them of structural abuse and bullying, and sexual assault during a hazing ritual. Two weeks ago the nine accused soldiers in turn pressed charges against their three accusing colleagues for defamation. The nine soldiers always denied the accusations made against them.
The three soldiers reported the ill treatment to their commander in 2013. Late last year they told their story to the Volkskrant. "If there is a whole group of soldiers pissing around you and a sergeant has to laugh about it, then you just don't know", one soldier said in that interview. A soldier said that after he was forced to use drugs, he was assaulted and then anally raped several time by a corporal, while several other soldiers held him down.
Defense reported the abuses in 2013, but no criminal investigation was launched because, according to the Prosecutor, the victims refused to press chargers. That happened later, and an investigation was launched by the Koninklijke Marechaussee, a policing force that works as part of the Dutch military.
After the article in the Volkskrant, State Secretary Barbara Visser of Defense appointed a special investigative committee to look into the situation at the Oranje barracks. In an interim report in March, the committee said that there was indeed harassment, intimidation and sexual violence in the barracks. The committee also found that internal investigation by the Defense organization was seriously lacking.