Nicolas Maeterlinck

Prosecutor has day in court on sexual assault charges

Johan Sabbe, head of the public prosecutor’s office of East Flanders, has gone on trial.  He faces assault charges and stands accused of harassing his female driver.

The 62-year-old has headed the East Flemish prosecutor’s office for many years and now faces charges relating to “unwanted sexual behaviour at work and assault on a person’s honour”.

It’s been established that the prosecutor sent his 45-year-old woman driver several sexual texts as well as photos. The fact that Sabbe was the driver’s boss is seen as an exacerbating factor.

The prosecutor also stands accused of attempting to kiss his driver and instructing her to drive down a forest lane where he felt her up, which he denies.

“The woman didn’t dare to respond out of fear she would lose her job” says her lawyer. “She was afraid of retaliation.  Being a driver was her dream.  She didn’t want to lose her job.”

Sabbe acknowledges sending texts and ‘light touching’ but speaks of mutual attraction among adults. 

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