Source: Jan Shuijer and Benjamin Rossen (1992). “The Trade in Child Pornography” Appendix E: “Interviews with Three Boys”, IPT-Forensics Journal, volume 4.
Interview conducted by Benjamin Rossen on 4th March 1990, with Johnny K. (17), born December 16, 1972.
Interviewer: First I want to ask you a few questions about your contact with Ferdinand. Then I want to ask some questions about the photo sessions with Fred V. and last about your experience with the police. If there are things you cannot remember then say so. Also, if you don’t want to give an answer then feel free to say so.
Johnny: Yes, good.
Interviewer: How did you first meet Ferdinand?
Johnny: It was like this; I had a teacher at school who gave lessons about how people can get on with each other, that sort of lesson, and once I went to his house with a friend of mine. We went to stay overnight there, and we wanted to have some fun, to go to a movie or something like that, but he said that he really didn’t have the time for that. He had to correct some tests and that sort of thing. But then he said, “I know something else for you. I have a friend who is having a birthday. We can go there for a while.” That was Stephan. So we did that and Ferdinand was there also, and that is how I met Ferdinand for the first time.
Interviewer: How old were you?
Johnny: I was 12, almost 13. Three days later I was thirteen.
Interviewer: Yes. And Stephan?
Johnny: Stephan was 15.
Interviewer: I see, two years older. What kinds of things did you do with Ferdinand?
Johnny: How do you mean kinds of things? … What we did together in the weekends, do you mean that?
Johnny: We always went swimming in the weekend. Sometimes we went to the movies, or we went to visit his parents, and to birthday parties and that sort of thing. Sometimes we also went to Centreparcs with friends for a weekend, or to stay in a bungalow and that kind of thing. Table tennis, and all kinds of things.
Interviewer: And in the vacations?
Johnny: Every year I went with Ferdinand to Yugoslavia and once to Spain in the winter with his parents. In summer we always go to Yugoslavia and we go to the nude beaches there. Once in winter we went to Benidorm in Spain. We also have little excursions to bungalows and the Centreparcs and such like. We do that on the long weekends. Holidays in Yugoslavia, Spain and Belgium. We were not really in Belgium on vacation but went there for excursions with friends. We went for long weekends or for a week. That varied.
Interviewer: Yugoslavia is more than an excursion.
Johnny: Yes. That was for a vacation. Three weeks long.
Interviewer: Did you go by train, by air or … ?
Johnny: We’ve been by car, by aircraft and with the bus. We have also done other things, for example we’ve been to the entertainment parks such as Duinrell and Efteling. And we have also been go-kart racing. You know, the tiny autos. But we didn’t do that so often. We did that a couple of times. Two or three times or so.
Interviewer: Can you remember any more things?
Johnny: No. Not really important things, no.
Interviewer: What are the positive aspects of your contact with Ferdinand?
Johnny: Positive aspects? Now … it is so. My parents were divorced, so I missed a father in my family. I didn’t have a father any more, and I had no contact with him. In the beginning I did but later not. And I was actually looking for a sort of father figure for myself, a sort of father for me. I found that in Ferdinand. I could always have good talks with Ferdinand. Ferdinand was really my second father. But not like the father type but just as a sort of father. Someone with whom I could talk about everything.
Interviewer: Did that include talking about problems at school and …
Johnny: Everything! About problems at school, at home, at work.
Interviewer: What are the negative aspects of your contact with Ferdinand?
Johnny: Tss … There aren’t any.
Interviewer: There aren’t any?
Interviewer: Absolutely not?
Johnny: No! I don’t have anything negative … Yea, look, it is of course so … Ferdinand is a pedophile … and, yes. I don’t want to say that that’s negative, but after all it is difficult for me because my family doesn’t know that. My mother knows it. But my family doesn’t know and so I actually have to keep it a bit hidden when my family asks about Ferdinand or about how it is going with me and that sort of thing. They know that Ferdinand had been married but it is too difficult to have to explain all that.
Interviewer: So you can say that because Ferdinand is pedophile, that that is a negative aspect?
Johnny: No! Being pedophile itself is not a negative aspect! But just to explain that to my family, or to keep his orientation hidden from them.
Interviewer: What does your mother think about your contact with Ferdinand?
Johnny: My mother thinks that I should make my own choice. My mother thinks that I am old enough to determine what I want and what I don’t want. My mother thought that my contact with Ferdinand was good, but said if there were things that I didn’t like, that I should say so right away. If, for example there was something that I did not want, then I should say so, and if there was something which I did want then I could say that too. But she went along with it. She said that I was old enough and that I could choose for myself.
Interviewer: When you were 12?
Interviewer: … and did she know that he was pedophile?
Interviewer: From when?
Johnny: From a week after I met Ferdinand. One week, two weeks …
Interviewer: How did that come about?
Johnny: Uh … It was so. I had just made contact with Ferdinand and I carne home from school and my mother was curious about him, what kind of person he was. She had not yet seen Ferdinand. My mother said, “What is Ferdinand actually like?” and then I said very direct, “Now Ferdinand is a pedophile.” I just said it I didn’t stop to think that it was a taboo or such. At that time I didn’t really know very clearly what a pedophile was. I knew naturally that he liked children and so on, so I knew what it was actually, but I didn’t know in much detail. That is how I told her and so that is how she came to know. In the beginning she was shocked, naturally. You wouldn’t expect that, at all. Then, in the beginning she also said, “Now, I would prefer that you did not go around with him any more.” But I kept complaining and winging for so long, “Yes, but I want to, and it is so nice with him,” and “I’ll just go to him anyway,” and so on. Finally my mother said, “You have to decide for yourself. You’re big enough.”
Interviewer: Did Ferdinand warn you not to tell people?
Johnny: No. He didn’t even know that I had told my mother. We hadn’t even talked about if he should come home with me or something like that to meet my mother, and so on.
Interviewer: Yes. And how did you know that he was pedophile?
Johnny: He told me. Indeed, rather quickly.
Interviewer: And at the same time hadn’t said that you should not to tell anybody else?
Johnny: Oh yes! He said that, but I thought “My mother, that isn’t anybody else, that’s my mother. I can tell her,” I thought.
Interviewer: What do your friends at school think about your contact with Ferdinand?
Johnny: They don’t know.
Johnny: No, nobody.
Interviewer: What can you tell me about the photo sessions with Fred?
Johnny: With Fred. Now, I always found them lots of fun. It was always cozy and friendly with Fred. There was a nice atmosphere there and you felt free. You could just be yourself. You could do what you wanted. Not that you could wreck the place, but just be yourself. I found the photos themselves always fun. But now that I’ve found out what he did with them not any more, of course. Now I regret it, obviously.
Interviewer: You regret it because of what he did with the photos?
Johnny: Yes. Well, yes. That was a real nasty thing to do. I had not expected that from him at all, because he said that they were for his own use and he said that he would not sell them. With that he abused my trust in him.
Interviewer: But from the making of the photographs you have no regrets?
Johnny: In itself, not. But now I certainly do regret it.
Interviewer: Can you tell me about the photos? What sort of photos were they?
Johnny: Ah … they weren’t play photos; that I can say. It was certainly porno. But Fred V. said that it was for his own use, as a souvenir for later. That later he could look at the slides, you know, that he could have fun thinking back. But he never told us that he had gone and sold them or that he had sent them off to America or England or so. But they weren’t ordinary play photos. They were all naked photos in which everything was done and so on. It was certainly child pornography.
Interviewer: Do you think the police are rightfully concerned about those kinds of photographs?
Johnny: Yes. It was definitely child pornography. It was all very clear; you could see precisely what was done and who was doing it
Interviewer: How many photographs were there?
Johnny: I don’t know exactly how many photos there were, but I think it was a large number.
Interviewer: How did the police discover that the photos were of you?
Johnny: Ah … They had found many photos at Fred’s place, and they found correspondence and so on, and when you combine the two things you can make the connection. That is how it went. Also, there were not so many boys involved. In the newspaper it said that there was an international network, a child pornography airlift to England. But there were not so many boys involved in total. Fred had a number of friends. Anton had some friends and Ferdinand had some friends.
Interviewer: Were the photos made by Ferdinand and Fred?
Johnny: No. Fred organized all kinds of excursions and we just went with the whole group. We went for example to a camping or to a bungalow park such as the Kempervennen. Fred made the photos.
Interviewer: Did Fred always make photos?
Johnny: Yes, often. Look, he did it as a sort of game. When we went on such an excursion and Fred was there, you could be certain that photos would be made.
Interviewer: What are the positive aspects of the photo sessions?
Johnny: The positive aspects … Now, I didn’t get any money for it (laugh). Now, at the time the photos were being made, that was fun.
Interviewer: What are the negative aspects of the photo sessions?
Johnny: Do you mean now, or then?
Interviewer: Then and now.
Johnny: Then, the negative side. At that time actually, I didn’t find it negative, because I wanted to do it and also Fred said that the photos were for his own use, for later. We could also look at them and enjoy them. That was fun. I thought of it as positive. I thought it was nice of him, because I thought he would keep the photos for himself, that he would not distribute them. And the negative side is that he went ahead and distributed them.
Interviewer: Thus, looking back, the only negative thing is that he distributed the photos?
Johnny: Yes. Sold and distributed them to England, to America, Belgium. Now, England and Belgium certainly. America, I’m not so certain; that is what I heard but I don’t know for sure.
Interviewer: Can you tell me how the case got started with the police?
Johnny: It actually got started because Fred had contact with an Englishman and sold him some slides and the Englishman took his suitcase with the slides with him in an aircraft. The aircraft had to make a stop on the way and the suitcase was unloaded, was taken off the aircraft. The Englishman had to get out at Gatwick but the suitcase had already been unloaded in London. So the suitcase remained alone on the conveyor going around and around, because no one had picked it up. Then they looked in the suitcase and they found all these slides with child pornography on them. Photographs of all the boys, and of course I was also there.
Later the Englishman was arrested. So that is how it got rolling. And that is how they came across the name of Fred V. He had sold the slides to the Englishman. Then the police in the Netherlands arrested Fred.
I was sitting one morning watching cable T.V. and I saw that a case with child pornography had come to light and that a certain F.V. had been arrested. We thought that it might be Fred. That is, Ferdinand and I, we were watching together. We thought that it might just by chance be someone else, that there could be someone else with the same initials. But later through friends I heard that it was indeed Fred and that he had been arrested.
Ferdinand knew for some time that something like that was underway. He had a feeling that he would be arrested, because there were slides of me and Stephan, and of Peter also. So, he already had misgivings. One day when I came home from school I was phoned by Ferdinand’s mother who told me that he had been arrested the night before. That was when I heard for the first that Ferdinand had been arrested.
Interviewer: And then?
Johnny: Now, I was shocked, of course. I realized that photos of me had been found and the police would obviously look further, who they all were and who was involved and the background and so on. When I heard that from Ferdinand’s mother I was very badly shocked. I could feel it coming, but of course I still got a shock.
After that I had to wait a whole long time for a message from Ferdinand, because I didn’t know any address or anything where I could write to him. After a time I got a letter from Ferdinand describing the situation and what had happened, with an address. Then I sent a letter … no … no letter yet because at that time Ferdinand was still in the cell at the police station. From there he went to the prison and that is where I sent him the letter. And then after a while some other boys were interrogated and they mentioned my name. And then, if I remember it right — I’m not sure any more — then I was telephoned by the police. They wanted to come and talk to me at home. And so that was my first contact with the police.
Interviewer: So the first contact with the police was at home. Can you tell me how that went?
Johnny: Emm … We had made an appointment for when they would come and exactly at the time they appeared at the door. At first we just sat in the lounge talking, ordinary, you know. After a while they said, “Johnny, we want to talk to you privately?” and I said, “Ok, that’s fine.” I could feel it coming on, that they wanted to talk to me about the whole situation. We went to my room and they began to put questions to me, such as, “How did you meet Ferdinand?” and “What do you think of Ferdinand?” and “Did you know that he is a pedophile?” and so on. And I just gave straight answers to that. And then they went further into the details, with other questions, such as, “have you had sex with so and so?” and so on. I didn’t give any answers. I said to myself, “if I talk, then I can make trouble for other people, if I say the wrong things, if I say nothing then no one can get into trouble.” That is what I thought.
I had been able to think it over. I knew that the police would also be coming to see me, that I would also be interrogated, over what had happened and what I had experienced and so on. Of course, I had thought it through, about what I should tell them. If I didn’t tell them anything then I wouldn’t have to explain anything and I wouldn’t trigger anything off. By saying nothing I wouldn’t disadvantage any one else. I couldn’t do any good, but then I also couldn’t do any harm.
At first they started kidding, such as, “What is your name? What is your sister called? How is it going at school? And how I had met Ferdinand and all kinds of things about myself and gradually they went a little to the point. First in the lounge with my mother there. And they asked what I thought of Ferdinand.
Interviewer: What was your answer?
Johnny: I told them that he was a nice man, someone I can get on with, and in the period after my parents were divorced he had become a sort of second father. I told them that I spent each weekend with him and that I phoned him also every Thursday, and that we went somewhere every weekend. And they asked if I knew that Ferdinand was a pedophile, and I knew that so I told them so. And they also asked my mother that, and they asked her what she thought of it.
Interviewer: What did your mother think?
Johnny: Yea, my mother knew, I’ve already told you. She said herself, “Now, look here, Johnny is old enough. He can decide for himself if he wants that or not.” That’s just how my mother is. My mother doesn’t make a problem out of it.
In my room they went over to questions about Ferdinand and put questions like, “Do you sleep in bed with Ferdinand in his home?” and, “Do you sleep naked with him?” and “Does Ferdinand force you to do things?” and, “Have you ever had to do something with Ferdinand which you really didn’t want?” and so on. And I gave then absolutely no answer. Then they showed me photographs of people and asked if I knew them, and if I had been there. And I gave them absolutely no answer to that also. I just said nothing. I just took care of myself and said nothing, just as if I had clammed up or so. And of course that was also true, since I was of course shocked. I didn’t know what could happen.
Interviewer: So. The first time you didn’t say much. Was there another time?
Johnny: The police came back. When they went away the first time they said, “We are going to come back when it’s going better with Johnny and when he has forgotten it a little. Because they thought that I was all emotional and clammed up, and that was actually so because I was shocked that Ferdinand had been arrested, of course. But I had held my mouth shut! And after a time they phoned up and … Ah … I’m not sure any more … An yes, they wanted to know if I would go to the police station, I think, if I would go there to the police station in Utrecht to be questioned. So, not at home. And then that is what happened. Before that they had said, “Johnny, if you don’t talk again we can go to the judge and we can make sure that you talk.” I heard that real good.
Interviewer: How and where had they said that?
Interviewer: So your second contact with the police was by telephone.
Johnny: Yes. They asked if I would come to the bureau and they also said, “We can make you talk.” After the first time they knew that I didn’t want to say anything. I had said, “I have nothing to say and I also don’t want to say anything.” So they knew that. But they said, “Look, Johnny, if you don’t talk we can go to the commissioner of the court and we can force you to talk because you’re actually a sort of witness.” They also said, “We can come and get you at school.” That would really set me up for trouble. That would cause all sorts of problems at school. Those two-faced bastards. Those are the kinds of things they did to force me to talk. Look, what they meant was, if you don’t do it nicely then we can come and get you from school, you know, and then you’ll really look like a dick head at school.
Interviewer: If they did that at school what would have happened?
Johnny: Big problems. That’s for sure. Then I might as well emigrate, I think. My reputation … Look, if the police came and got me from school in a squad car with officers in their uniforms then they would all know why at school.
Interviewer: How would they know? You could say something such as, “It’s none of your business,” or, “I was a witness and they wanted to have a statement,” or something like that?
Johnny: Yes … but, the director would know. Don’t forget at that time the papers were bursting with articles about the child pornography affair with my full first name, Johnny K. I was in the Telegraaf with my name, that I was involved in the whole affair. There are other Johnny Ks in the Netherlands, or in Amsterdam, so that was in itself not such a great problem at school. But if two officers should have come to the school then the others would have stared thinking, Yea, Johnny K., and they would make the connection. I just didn’t want them at school to know that I go about with a pedophile. Look, I can explain it to my mother but I can’t just go on to the Dam Square and announce it.
Interviewer: Now, the third time? Did you talk again with the police?
Johnny: The third time was, therefore, when I came to the police station and they wanted to have more details from me. They came and picked me up and we went to the station. They tried to put me at ease, you know, fast driving in the car, driving 160 (km/h), having a bit of fun.
Interviewer: With a siren?
Johnny: No, it wasn’t a police car, an ordinary private car. So the police also don’t keep to the law (laughs). At the police station we first went to eat in the police canteen. Then we went behind to the division of the child protection squad or something, and we went into a little cell, and there was a table and a chair and even a typing machine, and that is where I was interrogated. They started by asking for more details. No longer, “How did you meet Ferdinand?” They meant business, things like, “Did you go to Kempervennen?” and “What did you do there?” and “Who have you had sex with?” and “When were the photos made?” and that sort of thing. There were five officers who came to talk, altogether. I was not at all at ease. You sit there in the little cell just as if you had raped someone. A bare little cell with gouges in the wall from some mad man or other, and there you sit on your chair and questions are fired at you and you must give an answer. I sat there really trembling.
Interviewer: Did you have further contact with the police?
Johnny: Yes, lots. Oh, do you mean for myself, for theft of breaking in or that sort of thing? Do you mean that?
Interviewer: Did you?
Johnny: No! Only for this case. I had a fourth contact. By the third time they had not got me to talk enough. They wanted more from me so I was brought again to the police station, and we talked further. Again the same, but longer and more details. Then there was a fifth and last contact, even more extensive and then the rounding off.
Interviewer: What do you mean with “rounding off”?
Johnny: Just that they were finished with me. That they didn’t have to know anything more from me. That’s what they said.
Interviewer: What are the positive aspects of your contact with the police?
Johnny: Positive aspects? None!
Interviewer: What are the negative aspects of your contact with the police?
Johnny: Everything! Everything! The interrogations! The police at the door! Everything! There you sit for three hours on a little stool in that interrogation cell. Bare walls, table, chair, and a typing machine. Looking back I think it was just a whole blown up load of shit. Underhand load of shit, that’s what I think. It was horrible. They pry, they trick you. In that kind of interrogation you are just manipulated.
Before they had interrogated me, they had also interrogated other boys and they had mentioned my name and already said what I had done and what I hadn’t done. So they already knew the facts, but they wanted to hear it from me. So they went ahead and interrogated me. I just couldn’t escape. If they asked, “Have you been to Centreparcs?” and I said “No,” then they would show me a statement from one or other of the boys who had said, “Yes, Johnny and Ferdinand were also there in that Sport House Centre.” And then I couldn’t very well say that I wasn’t there, you know. I just couldn’t escape. There was absolutely nothing I could do.
It was really underhand, really. It was a sort of psychological warfare. I was forced to betray my friend, whether I wanted to or not. They had done it by coming in through the back door, via other people. Look, it was so, they asked other people about me and the other people said, “Johnny was with us at Kempervennen.” Now, if three or four other boys have already said that and then they go and ask me if I had also been in the Kempervennen, then what can I do. They just force you to say it yourself, that you were also there.
Interviewer: You are very negative about the police. But they are the child protection police. They are there for your interests.
Johnny: That might be so, but I think that they only drove me crazy. I had to be interrogated four times, while from the first time I didn’t want to say anything!
Interviewer: What did your mother think about it?
Johnny: Ah. My mother had a separate interview with the police. I wasn’t there myself, but I heard about what she told them. They asked my mother what she thought about the fact that I was going around with Ferdinand, and if she knew that Ferdinand was pedophile, but they didn’t ask her any details. They only questioned her superficially.
Interviewer: Why did you go ahead with writing letters and phoning Ferdinand while he was in jail?
Johnny: Because he is my friend and a very good one at that and you don’t abandon someone just like that. Some people said, “Now he’s in jail, it’s over with.” But that’s not what I thought. So that is why I sent him lots of letters and also phoned him up and also visited him in jail.
Interviewer: So there are three things: letters, telephone calls and also visits to the jail. How have you been able to continue your friendship with Ferdinand after his release?
Johnny: How do you mean? Just the same. Nothing changed. The contact has only become stronger, including the sexual contact. Because Ferdinand knew that I hadn’t deserted him. Because Ferdinand has real value for me and I for him. Therefore it only became stronger.
Interviewer: How did it go during the first few weeks that Ferdinand was free?
Johnny: Now Ferdinand was obviously a little disoriented because he was free at last and he could do anything he wanted. I mean ordinary things. He had a probationary period of two months. But he had to get used to his freedom.
Interviewer: Did you find you had to get accustomed to each other?
Johnny: No! We didn’t have to get accustomed to each other. I knew him already!
Interviewer: Has your relationship with Ferdinand changed since his release?
Johnny: Yes, I think so. It has become stronger.
Interviewer: Has your contact with the police changed your ideas about them?
Johnny: Yes. Seriously.
Interviewer: In what way?
Johnny: Their approach. How they approached the whole thing, underhand sons of bitches. Their whole approach was filthy, you couldn’t call it anything else.