Father Who Imprisoned His Children For Nine Years Won’t Face Trial

FATHER who imprisoned six of his children on a remote farm for nine years won’t face trial due to medical issues

The trial against Gerrit Jan von Dorsten, 68, a Dutch father who kept six children locked up on a farm where he physically, emotionally and sexually abused them, will not go ahead due to his deteriorating mental and physical health, a judge ruled on Thursday, March 4. The father locked himself and his children – two boys and four girls – into his remote farmhouse in 2010 and none of the family was spotted again until one of the boys escaped and raised the alarm in 2019. The man suffered a stroke in 2010 and the prosecution has agreed not to pursue the charges of illegal detention and child abuse since he can now barely speak and his memory and understanding have greatly diminished.

The family’s situation came to light in October 2019, when the oldest of the six children escaped and went to a cafe in Ruinerwold in the province of Drenthe. The owner of the cafe noticed the boy’s unkempt appearance and confusion, and called the police. During conversations with the prosecution it emerged that the children were forced to pray for days on end, were often deprived of food and plunged into ice baths if they misbehaved. One child was made to sleep in a dog house and the lawyers heard that the father would force some of the children to ‘satisfy him’. A statement from the victims told how von Dorsten told them that evil spirits would possess their bodies if they ever spoke to someone outside the family, and he repeatedly blamed the death of their mother on their attempts to escape.

The victims, now aged between 18 and 25, have been moved to another location and are being supported by psychologists to help them adapt to their new lives. The case against the father has been dismissed and he will be released.


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Written by

Sarah Keane

Former teacher and health services manager with a Degree in English, Sarah moved to Spain from Southern Ireland with her husband, who runs his own car rental business, in 2019. She is now enjoying a completely different pace and quality of life on the Costa Blanca South, with wonderful Spanish and expat friends in Cabo Roig. Sarah began working with Euro Weekly News in 2020 and loves nothing more than bringing all the latest national and international news to her local community.


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