The 24-year-old from Etten-Leur, a system administrator by profession, was arrested in October. The issue appeared yesterday. Police have now traced the identities of dozens of victims. “Most of them are minors and live spread out across the country,” says a spokesperson. The Public Prosecution Service says that a large amount of child pornography is on De W’s hard drive.
According to the Public Prosecution Service, he approached his victims under an assumed name, via Snapchat and Instagram, among other things. He named himself Bryan.snapx, Bryansnelgeld and used other variants with “Bryan”.
De W. always proceeded the same way: he made a friend request and started a conversation. Then he offered money in exchange for sending a nude photo. Then the threats started: There had to be more footage, or he’d post the photo on the Internet. Sometimes it actually happened.
According to the Public Prosecution, he sometimes had long-term contact. “The girls sometimes had to engage in far-reaching sexual behavior in front of the camera. For example, the investigation revealed a suspicion that the victim had had sex with a third person and she had to be filmed and sent.”
Search for W.
DW has been held since October 11 on suspicion of producing and possessing child pornography, assault, indecency and soliciting girls to immorality via the Internet. Eight girls filed a complaint against the man, but the police and public prosecution expect this number to rise significantly. Today, five new reports were received in the case. “They are being investigated further,” says a spokesperson for her.
Police investigations are currently focused on Hard Drive. It has a folder called “Snap”, and there are 150 folders with different girls’ names in it. The focus is on evaluating the footage, with different girls each time, and investigating the identity of the victims.
Yesterday, the court decided to detain the suspect for a longer period. The next court session against the man is on April 11.
The suspect in a sextortion case appears to have been arrested once in 2014. The police received a report that a girl had been seduced over the Internet to commit sexual assault, the Public Prosecution Service confirms after reporting to De Telegraaf. The agents conducted a so-called “talk stop” with De W., who was himself a minor at the time.
“In a stop conversation, the police address the suspect about their behaviour, so that the behavior stops. In many cases this is effective,” says an OM spokesperson. But in this case, it appears that it did not prove effective.
Terminate the behavior
Police scientist Jaap Timmer says that sometimes these types of conversations take place with people harassing or chasing someone. “There is often no serious criminal offense committed, or a reasonable chance of prosecution and conviction. Such a conversation is not very smooth. They come to your doorstep and say, ‘Listen, we’re going to file. If this doesn’t stop, you’re done.'”
Experience shows that these kinds of conversations often work well, Timmer says. Talk stopped, as the police often can do no more at a moment like this. “The police do not have the power to follow a person, to intrude into a suspect’s private world.”
Jasper van der Kemp, a criminologist at the University of Victoria, agrees. “The police just want you to show up with the call to stop: we’ve got you in the picture, and we’re giving you the chance to stop. But it doesn’t mean anything legally.”
Fear and shame
This means that such a person can resume his practices at a certain point. Until he informs the victim again. But the threshold for reporting such cases is high. “The suspect puts a lot of pressure on young girls, they don’t say anything quickly.”
This is also what OM says. “In general, victims are reluctant to report these types of issues. Fear and shame can play a role in this.”
Arda Jerkens explains that because of this shame, the offender’s power is great. She is the director of Help Wanted, which helps victims of online sexual assault.
Little victims refer to themselves. “They think it’s their own fault that they got themselves into trouble. The worst part is that society sees it that way too.”
Do not share pictures
Gerkens explains: “We think it’s normal that if you receive a nude photo of someone, you share it with other people. When parents talk about this topic with their children, it shouldn’t be about taking a nude photo. The conversation should be about what you do with that photo.” When you get it. It doesn’t mean forwarding it.”
The perpetrator has power because the victim is afraid of such an image being leaked. “This threat is enough to keep people calm.”
Gerkens describes the case around Gianni de W. as serious. “He’s a sysadmin, and he must have done it smartly. It shows how one person can do so much damage. But I’m not surprised. We see a lot of sextortion victims. We received 2,400 reports in 2021.” This while the vast majority of people do not report it.
Help Wanted hopes the police will give it a higher priority. Gerkens is convinced that the perpetrators can be caught, even if they operate under an assumed name. “If this happens to you, get help and report it.”
According to criminologist Jasper van der Kemp, tracking down perpetrators can sometimes be complicated. “It depends on what information you have, and whether an account can be traced back to someone. In some cases, the police can act as if they were a victim themselves, hoping the perpetrator can be contacted or the IP address can identify out.”
The OOO does not want to say how Gianni DW was tracked down, because the investigation is still ongoing.