Dutchman accused of abusing 300 girls on Internet

THE HAGUE (AFP) - Dutch police are investigating a 48-year-old man who allegedly persuaded hundreds of girls as young as 10 to perform sex acts in front of their webcams and even at his home.

"He allegedly approached almost 300 young girls on the Internet over the last eight years, in chatrooms, with sexual requests," the public prosecutor said in a statement on Wednesday.

The man, from the town of Cuijk near the German border, allegedly used a plethora of email accounts and screen names to contact the girls.

He allegedly "persuaded the girls to carry out sexual acts on themselves in front of their webcams", the prosecutor said.

Police found over 26,000 films and 144,000 still images as well as numerous chatroom exchanges on the computer of the suspect, identified by Dutch media as Frank R.

The suspect is accused of having physical sexual contact with 11 girls, three of them at his home.

It is not thought that the man shared the images on the Internet.

The authorities have so far identified 65 of the girls, aged 10 to 17, living throughout the Netherlands.

Dutch media reported that the parents of a 16-year-old girl had gone to police around nine months ago because she was having a relationship with the suspect.

The parents however decided not to press charges of taking a child away from parental authority, a crime under Dutch law.

A senior officer admitted to Dutch media that police had committed a "procedural error".

Police are trying to identify the other girls in the images.

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