In the Netherlands, a court has sentenced an Austrian to three years in prison for helping to isolate six children for years.
Joseph B. played a “key role” in sealing six children of cult leader Jan van D. on a farm in the Dutch village of Ruinerwold for over a decade, according to Tuesday’s verdict.
The case attracted worldwide attention after it was discovered in 2019. The now convicted 61-year-old craftsman from Austria was a “disciple” of the main perpetrator, according to the judgment of the court in Assen in the north of the Netherlands.
Joseph B. bought groceries for van D. and rented the farm where the man is said to have kept his children from 2007 to 2019 – believing that he was preparing the children for a “new world” called Eden. In addition, the convict is said to have renovated the house together with van D. and ensured for years that he received transfers from Austria.
Joseph B. was acquitted of the charge of having held and abused children himself. However, he is said to have tied up and locked another Austrian in a shed for several weeks in 2009. The verdict stated that Joseph B. played a “different role” than van D. But he worked “sufficiently closely and consciously” with the father of the family to be sentenced himself.
The proceedings against van D. himself were discontinued in 2021 because of his poor physical and mental condition. According to the court, he was unable to follow the trial because of a stroke he suffered in 2016.