Club van Sinterklaas actor confesses in court to sexually abusing a minor
An actor who was featured in the Club van Sinterklaas confessed to committing sexual acts with an underage girl from Deventer. Prosecutors asked the District Court in Zwolle on Thursday to convict Tim de Z., and sentence him to 1.5 years in prison, including six months conditionally suspended.
The Public Prosecution Service (OM) accused the 58-year-old of grooming and seducing the 17-year-old victim by taking advantage of his position as an actor on the show, which has been produced for television and theatrical release, as well as an online series. De Z. played the Hoge Hoogte Piet, the most senior of the assistants to Sinterklaas.
He exchanged messages with his fan which gradually became sexual in nature. "I found that very exciting," said the Amsterdam-based actor on Thursday when the judges asked him about it. During a meeting in March 2022, they touched each other's genitals while in his home in Amsterdam, he confessed.
He finally booked a hotel room in Deventer in June 2022. On the way there, both the girl and the actor were intercepted by the police. De Z. claimed their date in Deventer was intended to give them privacy for "cuddling" in the hotel room, and that it might lead to sex.
The prosecutor alleged he promised to show her an exclusive video of him performing in exchange for sex.
The girl sent him 708 photos and videos of herself naked while performing sexual acts on herself. Those images were made at De Z.'s behest, the prosecutor stated. The Public Prosecution Service considers this material to be child pornography.
"I feel guilty. I feel a lot of shame and remorse," De Z said.
In addition to the feature films and episodes of the Club van Sinterklaas, the actor was featured in the film, New Kids Turbo, and in television series such as Mocro Maffia, Flikken Maastricht and Goede Tijden, Slechte Tijden.
The consequences of this criminal case have already been enormous for the actor, said attorney Jantina Rump. "Acting and teaching will become impossible for him, given the current climate." She was referring to the allegations of sexually transgressive behavior behind the scenes of the TV program The Voice of Holland. According to the attorney, De Z. did not actually abuse the girl. "He did not seduce her into having sex."
The Club van Sinterklaas said that De Z. has not been part of their cast for the last five years.
The court will rule on June 29.
Reporting by ANP