It’s quite understandable that Dutch government officials were not prepared for the Demmink scandal. After all, it almost never occurs that high level politicians, government officials, police chiefs, members of parliament, mayors, celebrities and high profile businessmen are being investigated or arrested in The Netherlands in relation to child abuse allegations because that typically happens in the UK or Belgium, but most certainly not civilized Holland.
People of that stature simply do not engage in those horrible activities and secondly, as Minister of Justice Ivo Opstelten made perfectly clear, a Minister does not lie. It’s clear that in Demmink’s case, something went wrong and the awful allegations somehow kept on coming and wouldn’t go away. It even looked like some Dutch citizens simply wouldn’t believe the words and promises of Ministers and Public Prosecutors who are arguing that they have dealt with the matter in a proper way.
So to prevent future incidents from lingering and festering until judgment day, here’s a step-by-step contingency plan for the Dutch government, ensuring that it will be able to keep up appearances at all times.
1. If serious allegations about sexual abuse of children are targeting a Secretary General of the Justice Department for the first time, then whatever you do don’t panic. There’s absolutely no reason at this stage to suspend the Secretary General. It’s only the first time so the population will accept that this may be a case of bad-mouthing, perhaps even by criminals or convicts, so there’s no particular need to immediately switch into denial mode before you explain to the Dutch population that you have asked a law enforcement department to investigate the matters, you explain how long the investigation took, whether accusers have been interviewed and what the views were of the enforcement officials as well as any prosecutor’s involved. Don’t debunk the allegations after one day already and don’t forget to mention the names of the organizations involved in the investigation. Otherwise it may seem like hardly anything was truly being investigated. Details of the case do not have to be shared with the general public, but it can be wise to discuss them only generally with relevant members of parliament and / or Cabinet officials, so they will be able to at least very generally debunk any stories put forward by the media – while using a small number of actual facts – and have a proper conversation with relevant journalists.
2. Now if the first allegations are being followed by one or more additional accusations or even criminal complaints, it can be wise to establish a small parliamentary committee, that will oversee the work of enforcement and prosecution authorities. Not only because of the sensitivity of the case, but predominantly because the suspect is in charge of aforementioned organizations and one – at least – wants to keep up appearances, ensuring the general public that their government is taking allegations against its high profile officials very seriously and that it allows enforcement and prosecution authorities to act independently. Especially when dealing with child abuse accusations.
3. If at any point in time, the Secretary General deems it necessary to hire a high profile lawyer, threatens to sue any media outlets who are writing about these allegations AND has even reached a settlement with some of those media which includes a gag-order, well there may be something fishy going on and the parliamentary committee should demand that the Secretary General be suspended to enable him to defend himself properly, to ensure that enforcement and prosecution authorities are able to conduct their investigations in a thorough, independent and detailed way AND to prevent any fallout of the case from negatively affecting tasks, responsibilities and representatives of the Dutch government and its overall (inter)national standing and reputation. Again, after the investigation it is wise to report back to parliament and be clear about the duration of the investigations, the various findings, the enforcement and prosecution authorities involved and why the accusations should not be taken seriously. Never keep to simple statements such as: ‘we investigated it and he’s clean’, ‘there’s not even a hint of smoke, let alone a fire’ or ‘he’s such a good guy’. That generally doesn’t do well in a court of law and judges are not the only ones not being impressed by such arguments.
And now for what is perhaps the most important part of the contingency plan: the things one should NOT do and avoid at all times!
1. Don’t treat the alleged accusers of sexual abuse as criminals. Don’t intimidate them, don’t interrogate them at remote locations and do make sure to have them be interrogated by professionals with knowledge of the issues at hand and not the average nightclub goon. Even if it turns out that one of the accusers is – in fact – a criminal, don’t allow your Secretary General to visit his prison facility, regardless of the reason.
2. Don’t be your own judge or jury and never lie on behalf of your employee. If one could escape prosecution by having a third party argue: ‘he’s such a good guy’ and ‘he’s clean’ the courts and prisons would be empty. It also doesn’t guarantee success with the general public who may expect a more thorough investigation into the issues at hand. More importantly, are you sure you know your employee that well, that you can vouch for his noble behavior even outside working hours? Only deny something that actually did happen when you’re 100% sure that no one will be able to prove it. Never forget, he’s just an expendable staff member. You’re the boss.
3. Don’t pretend there’s nothing going on, skies are blue and all is peachy when three alleged victims of sexual abuse have filed complaints against your Secretary General, one alleged victim is ready to do so and at least three individuals who possibly have criminal records are willing to state that the Secretary General had underaged boys delivered to him. Make sure to debunk those allegations using proof that an actual criminal investigation has taken place and that the allegations could not be verified. There’s also such a thing as an ‘alibi’. To add to the usual ‘he really didn’t do it’ mantra. All the more important when foreign news media are reporting on the allegations, people abroad are protesting and members of Congress in the U.S. feel that there may be some truth to the accusations against your Secretary General.
And whatever you do, do NOT run away when reporters are asking you questions about the ordeal…it will make you look as if you’ve got something to hide.
“Joris Demmink Was Not In Turkey During The Time The Alleged Charges Occurred”. Dutch Blog Begs To Differ And Calls On Dutch Minister Of Justice To Disprove Their Evidence
The U.S. State Department has launched a vocal defense of a high government official in the Netherlands accused of raping young boys
Who Are The Individuals Accusing Joris Demmink Of Unlawful Acts? What Are The Accusations About?
“U.S. Congress must take steps to bar Joris Demmink from entering the United States and to freeze Demmink’s U.S.-based assets”
Transcript Of Censored NOS News Broadcast About Joris Demmink, 5th November 2003. “He did not always ask of what age they were”
Yet Another Dutch Reporter Dares To Speak Out. Henk Rijkers: “Under Normal Circumstances They Would Have Put Demmink Behind Bars A Long Time Ago”
New Evidence Is 2 Days Old And Already Dutch Secret Service, Internal Affairs And Public Prosecutor’s Office Conclude It Is NOT Necessary To Investigate Joris Demmink
Dutch Secretary General And Alleged Pedophile Joris Demmink To Sue Dutch Newspaper Algemeen Dagblad. Distraction Technique?
Former Dutch Minister Of Justice Piet Hein Donner Had Been Warned About Joris Demmink. Officials Criticize Actions Of Enforcement Authorities
Dutch Parliament Demands Explanation About Demmink Case From Minister Of Justice Ivo Opstelten
New Witnesses Come Forward. Declare That Dutch Secretary General Joris Demmink Was In Touch With A Dutch Criminal Who Acted As His Pimp
Dutch Minister Of Justice Ivo Opstelten Continues To Support His Highest Ranking Government Official, The Alleged Pedophile Joris Demmink
Dutch Ministry Of Justice Tacitly Admitted That No Thorough Investigation Into Alleged Pedophile Joris Demmink Has Taken Place (Video)
5 Reasons Why The Joris Demmink Case In The Netherlands Won’t Go Away