The arrest of a Dutch special-needs swim teacher after the seizure of tens of thousands of photographs of him allegedly abusing mentally-disabled girls
has thrown the country into shock. The man, 59-year old Benno Larue
, ran a swimming school which specialized in teaching mentally-retarded children, children with water phobias and children with other special needs.
He was arrest on June 8 on suspicion of sexual assault, sending shockwaves through the local community and the country, as details of the evidence against him emerged.
"We have confiscated tens of thousands of pornographic pictures and video footage of hundreds of girls," a spokesman of the police in Den Bosch in the southern Netherlands told the German Press Agency dpa.
"The pictures show the swimming teacher performing sexual acts on at least 98 girls
, aged 6 to 16," he added.
Given the obvious difficulties in interviewing the special-needs children, due to their disabilities, estimates of the number of potential victims have ranged to possibly over 1,000
"Regrettably, many parents of his current and former pupils will never know if anything ever happened to their children," Den Bosch police chief Wilbert Paullissen said, adding Larue had probably not recorded all children he allegedly assaulted.
As many of Larue's pupils are mentally-retarded, police have not yet decided whether they will interrogate the children to collect evidence, the police chief said.
"Interrogating these children will be a major task and very complicated," he said.