Den Bosch gang rape suspects released; Prosecutor appeals decision
All eight suspects arrested last week on suspicion of gang-raping at least three teenage girls in Den Bosch, have been released from custody. Two were released last week. And on Monday the magistrate ruled that there is not enough evidence to hold the other six. The Public Prosecution Service disagrees with this and will appeal against the ruling.
All of the men remain suspects in this case. But the examining magistrate ruled that they can await the rest of the investigation in freedom.
This investigation started early this year, when three teenage girls from 's-Hertogenbosch came separately to the police to report that they were raped by multiple men at a garage company in the city. In all cases the girls came into contact with members of the group, sometimes through social media. The police believe the girls were drugged and, while defenseless, sexually assaulted by multiple men from the group. Sometimes violence was used.
The arrests of the young men led to a great deal of reactions on social media. In some cases photos of the suspects and victims were shared, often with threatening messages, the Prosecutor said in a statement on Monday. The Prosecutor called this completely unacceptable. "Not only towards the victims, but also towards the suspects. The lives of multiple families have been turned completely upside down and that is terrible for these people", the Prosecutor said, adding that all threats will be investigated.
The social media posts can also hinder the investigation, the Prosecutor said. "As reported last week, we have strong indications that more girls have fallen victim to this group. We also have an idea of who some of them are, but unfortunately, fear plays a major role in this case. There are girls who simply do not dare come forward because they are afraid of the consequences and that is terribly sad."