Celeb De Pauw in court charged with harassing 13 women

The trial of Flemish celebrity Bart De Pauw started today.  TV producer De Pauw stands accused of harassment and being an electronic nuisance.  His trial should last for two days.

It is already four years ago that it emerged that several women had complained he had harassed them.  The Flemish public broadcaster VRT ended its co-operation with the TV producer and two days later Antwerp prosecutors launched an investigation into possible stalking.

The investigation that followed revealed that De Pauw may have claimed up to 13 women victims: actresses, co-workers and interns.  9 of the 13 women have filed a complaint as an injured party.  They will participate in the trial, may be identified as victims and could qualify for compensation. The women are each seeking a euro in damages.  They say recognition of what happened is what they seek. Other victims have come forward – three women – but they are not mentioned in the charges. 

The investigation involved 80 sessions of questioning.  De Pauw was questioned on four occasions.  Former VRT CEO Paul Lembrechts and other players in the Flemish TV landscape were also heard.  De Pauw’s telephone was reportedly tapped too as part of the investigation.

Investigators hope to show that De Pauw harassed women via text message.  Some women are said to have received tens, even hundreds of texts from the celebrity until well into the night.  A VRT official speaking at the start of the investigation spoke of “amorous advances that escalated into a form of stalking”.

De Pauw risks up to 2 years in jail as well as a 2,400 euro fine.    

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