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Marc Dutroux, high-ranking pedophile network

Marc Dutroux committed crimes involving kidnapping, sexual abuse and murder of children in the 1990s.

Marc Dutroux was born on November 6, 1956, in Belgium. He became internationally known as one of the most infamous criminals in Belgian history due to his heinous crimes committed in the 1980s and 1990s.

Many Belgians believe that Dutroux was part of a pedophile network, which included high-ranking members of the Belgian government, international governments, and that the various individuals allegedly involved were never prosecuted.

Dutroux began his criminal life with petty offenses but soon became involved in more serious activities, including robberies and drug trafficking. However, he became primarily known for his sexual crimes and kidnappings of children.

Juvenile delinquent

Dutroux had a long history of juvenile delinquency. After becoming unemployed as an electrician, he turned to car theft and earned money through pimping, which he used to buy various properties.

He was married to Michelle Martin, with whom he had three children. He also has two children from a previous marriage. He is sometimes referred to by the press as the Monster of Marcinelle.

Michelle Martin. / Photo: Reproduction.

Underground complex

It was discovered that Dutroux had built an underground complex in his home, where he held his victims captive. The children, ranging in age from 8 to 19, were abducted, sexually abused, and held in horrific conditions of confinement. Some victims died of starvation or neglect while in his possession.

Dutroux was known to have accomplices in his crimes. His wife, Michelle Martin, and a man named Michel Lelièvre were considered accomplices in his kidnappings.

Julie Lejeune and Mélissa Russo

These two Belgian girls, both eight years old, were kidnapped in June 1995 while playing in a park. Dutroux held the two children captive in an underground cell on his property.

Julie Lejeune and Mélissa Russo / Photo: Reproduction.

They were subjected to repetitive sexual abuse while Marc filmed everything. Unfortunately, Dutroux let the girls starve to death while he was serving a brief prison sentence for other crimes.

It is important to remember that during this period Marc’s wife remembered to feed the dogs, but did not even bring a plate of food for the girls.

An Marchal and Eefje Lambrecks

In the same year, Dutroux kidnapped 17-year-old An Marchal and 19-year-old Eefje Lambrecks. He held them captive chained together in one, subjecting them to sexual abuse and mistreatment before murdering them.

Search flyer for An Marchal and Eefje Lambrecks / Photo: Reproduction.

Dutroux’s wife never seemed to mind the atrocities that took place in their home, but to this day it is unclear the extent of her participation in the crimes. The bodies of the teenage girls were found buried on his property in August 1996, after his arrest. The cause of death is unknown.

The “X” file

The “X” files are the victims’ accounts. They were created after Judge Jean-Marc Connerotte made a public appeal for victims to come forward. In total, at least ten victims contacted the police. All witnesses were given the codename “number X”.

It was revealed that the name of one of the witnesses, X1, was Régina Louf. Louf’s full name leaked to the press in a campaign to make her out to be seen as a fantasist and a liar.

Regina Louf claimed that other minors were present at the sex parties and that everything was secretly filmed for blackmail purposes. She gave police names, addresses, and detailed descriptions of two murders, which corresponded to unsolved cases involving teenagers. Louf said that the parties included not only sex, but also sadism, torture and murder.

She stated that one of the organizers of the parties was a man she knew as Mich (Jean Michel Nihoul). Louf described him as a cruel man who sadistically tortured young girls. Louf said that Dutroux was at the time a young man who brought drugs to the parties for the girls and took care of them in other ways.

As a reward, he was also allowed to use them for his pleasure. The crimes Louf described happened about ten years before the criminal’s arrest.

One of the other X-witnesses, whose real name was not revealed but who later worked for the police, said that he witnessed and experienced similar abuse. The witnesses also reported instances where children were chased through the forest by dogs.

Witness X3 said that one of the people present at the meetings that involved sex orgies with minors, torture and murder was Willy Claes, secretary general of NATO. Willy Claes resigned after being found guilty of corruption in a bidding process to purchase military helicopters.

Willy Claes, while Secretary General of NATO / Photo: Reproduction.

The testimony of witness X2 implicated Etienne Davignon, Maurice Lippens, Paul Vanden Boeynants, Benoît de Bonvoisin and Prince Alexandre of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha as having been present at orgies involving minors.

A pedophile ring?

The Dutroux case revealed serious flaws in the justice system and police investigation. There were allegations of negligence, corruption and even cover-up by the responsible authorities. The slowness and errors in the investigations allowed Dutroux to continue committing crimes for a long period of time.

In 1995 Dutroux’s mother told the police that he was holding girls captive in one of his homes, yet the officers ignored the tip.

During his trial, Dutroux claimed that he was acting as part of a pedophilia and child trafficking ring, involving influential people. However, no substantial evidence was found to support these claims.

The case generated a wave of protests across Belgium, with people demanding a full investigation and a reform of the justice system. There was severe criticism of the Belgian authorities for the way the case was handled.

Justice for Victims

Marc Dutroux and Michelle were first arrested on February 4, 1986 for kidnapping and raping minors under the age of 16. They were sentenced in April 1989 to 13.5 and 5 years in prison respectively. Michelle received parole in 1991 and Marc in 1992.

Marc was re-arrested in 1995 for car theft and then in 1996 for kidnapping, rape and murder after police found six victims. He was sentenced in 2004 to life in prison for kidnapping, torture, murder and rape of minors, criminal association and drug trafficking. He is currently serving a sentence in Nivelles, south of Brussels.

Michele, Dutroux’s wife at the time, was sentenced to 30 years in prison for complicity in the kidnapping of victims and the death of two young girls.

Michel Lelièvre, who admitted participation in the kidnapping of Laetitia, Sabine, An Marchal, and Eefje Lambrecks, was sentenced to 25 years in prison.

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