AMSTERDAM – Dutch judges on Monday handed down an 18- year sentence, plus involuntary psychiatric treatment for an indefinite period of time, to a pedophile who molested dozens of extremely young children in Amsterdam preschools and then shared videos and images of the acts on the Internet.
The Latvian-born Dutch defendant, identified under the Netherlands' privacy laws only as Robert M., has been dubbed "The Monster of Riga" by the national press. He was convicted of abusing 67 victims, though he confessed to more. Most were toddlers, but the youngest were infants, some only weeks old.
"The manner and long period of misbehavior, the pain done to the young victims and their families, the calculating method of operation, the betrayal of trust, the collecting and sharing of visual material, the advice given to other pedophiles, the attempt to share an available child in exchange for money, all these things have done great damage to justice," said Presiding judge Frans Bauduin.
"The outrage is great, and it won't subside for a long time," Bauduin said.
M. worked in several nursery schools and also offered his services online as a freelance babysitter.
The case deeply shocked the Netherlands when M. was arrested in December 2010, following a tip from American law enforcement authorities. Dutch experts have since used massive digital archives seized from M's home to pass on further information that has, in turn led to further ongoing investigations into international pedophile rings that operate online.
M., who had been cooperative during his arrest and meek during his trial, showed a different side of his character Monday, yelling at the judge to "shut his mouth." Bauduin calmly responded, "no, now you have to shut your mouth."
M. also threw a glass of water at the judge after his expressions of remorse were described as not credible and would be given no weight in sentencing. The judge continued reading the sentence even as he pulled a handkerchief from his pocket to wipe off his papers. In addition, M. made an obscene gesture with his finger toward the judge when the sentence was read. He has several weeks to consider an appeal.
Involuntary psychiatric treatment in the Netherlands can in practice become a life sentence for suspects whose mental disorders are considered incurable.
The 29-year-old M'.s older partner, Richard van O., was also convicted of complicity in M.'s crimes. Though he didn't participate, he was sentenced for six years for knowing about M.'s activities and not reporting them. His lawyers said they will appeal.