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Paper Cites More Police Bungles in Belgian Sex Case

August 25, 1996|From Associated Press

BRUSSELS — Police held a man suspected in the disappearances of several girls earlier this year but released him without doing a full investigation, a Brussels newspaper reported Saturday.

The report was the latest allegation of police bungling in the case of Marc Dutroux, a convicted pedophile who is the key suspect in an alleged child pornography case that has shocked Belgium.

Dutroux, 38, was arrested Aug. 15 after two girls, 12 and 14, were found alive but sexually abused in a cellar beneath one of his houses. He later led police to the bodies of two 8-year-old girls buried in his garden on another property.

Belgian police have arrested five others, including Dutroux's wife. They have also seized hundreds of videotapes that they have said show Dutroux sexually abusing children.

Police in the Netherlands arrested a 74-year-old man in connection with the case on Saturday. They said officers searched his home and garden in an Amsterdam suburb, but they released no other details.

Dutroux, who has served time for raping girls, has admitted to kidnapping two other teenagers, who remain missing and may have been sold into prostitution abroad.

Saturday's report in the Brussels daily De Morgen said that police arrested Dutroux in December in connection with the kidnapping of three teenagers, who were held briefly in one of his homes in Charleroi, 30 miles south of Brussels.

Dutroux said a friend kidnapped the two boys and the girl to punish them for stealing a car. The friend was never arrested, and police freed Dutroux in March without fully checking into his role in the kidnapping, the newspaper said. No charges were filed.

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