Four girls harassed at Tilburg Halloween party

Stappegoor swimming pool in Tilburg
Stappegoor swimming pool in TilburgPhoto: Recreatiebad Stappegoor / Facebook

The municipality of Tilburg closed swimming pool Stappegoor early on Saturday after a large Halloween party got out of hand. There were multiple incidents between groups of teenagers and children, including four young girls being harassed by older boys. Staff took the girls out of the pool and to a safe place, the municipality said to Omroep Brabant.

The pool is managed by the municipality though Sportbedrijf Tilburg. "There were nearly 500 people of all ages present at the Halloween party. Children's parties, small children, groups of children from 12 to 17 years old. In the course of the evening the pool staff had to call groups to order several times because they were misbehaving. They were not interacting well with each other", a spokesperson said to the broadcaster.

Kids were pushed under water multiple times. "It involved 30 to 40 children. At one point parents also expressed their feeling of insecurity. We took these signals seriously. Girls were also surrounded by older boys. It involved four girls, in four separate incidents. They were taken out of the water and put in a situation that is safe for them", the spokesperson said.

Several pool visitors told Omroep Brabant that the girls were sexually assaulted. The municipality could not confirm or deny this. "We do not know exactly yet. We recorded the personal details of the girls. We will contact them this week to see if they need aftercare and whether they want to file a report", the spokesperson said. 

The municipality eventually closed the pool early. "Social safety and swimming safety could no longer be guaranteed. First the older children had to change clothes and leave, then the younger group. We wanted to separate them in that way." Outside a group of 30 young people gathered in the square in front of the swimming pool and threw a stone through the window. A roller shutter was also damaged. The municipality called the police, but the perpetrators were gone by the time they arrived. 

The municipality will extensively evaluate this event this week.