Up to 4 months’ imprisonment for sexual assault at Dutch naval base
On Monday 27 July, the Military Chamber of the Arnhem District Court sentenced three men to up to four months military detention for indecent assault at the naval base in Den Helder. The sentences for two of the suspects are harsher than the prosecutor’s demand.
Sergeant Raymond van de P. (35) and the 29-year-old corporal Jozef M. were sentenced to 4 and 3 months’ imprisonment respectively for, among other things, assault on honour. Sailor Nicky G. got a 30-day military detention, of which 27 days are on probation. In addition, he must serve 120 hours of community service.
On 17 May 2018, the now 22-year-old victim, at the time a young sailor, was pressed to the ground in the canteen on the Navy grounds by two men, after which a third man lowered his trousers and hit the sailor’s body with his penis. The suspect also lay down on top of the sailor and made “sexual movements”. This was preceded by harassment and intimidation. The sergeant also forced the victim to put a hammer in his mouth with the intention of having him imitating oral sex.
The Military Chamber finds it extremely serious that the sergeant was the initiator. In addition, the Military Chamber very much resents both the sergeant and the corporal for not taking their responsibility as military superiors.
The three of them described the incident as ‘horseplay’. ‘It was submarine culture,’ one of them said during the court case. They said that only afterwards did they notice that the victim did not like it. The prosecutor said there are too many incidents within the armed forces. ‘A flawed culture is being maintained.’
According to the Military Chamber, these are serious facts. ‘The men have violated the physical and mental integrity of the victim and must have experienced these acts in the presence of fellow soldiers as very humiliating.’ The Military Chamber finds such facts dangerous for the deployability of military units, such as the ships of the Royal Netherlands Navy. ‘These are unfortunate facts that should not be part of the corporate culture, because they seriously harm the reputation of the armed forces.’