Sexual Abuse Legally Punishable, Even If Victims/Survivors Consented

Written by Rob Hogendoorn

Less than a minute

Dutch ‘tantra masseur’ Edwin M. lost his appeal today against a conviction for sexually abusing five female clients. He received a higher sentence, three years in prison, in part because of his ‘unshakeable’ belief that the women lied about having been harmed.

Before Edwin M., ‘tantra masseur’ Nico D. lost his appeal against his conviction as well. He was sentenced to 2,5 years in prison for abusing six female clients.

In both cases, the prosecutors used a little known section of the Dutch criminal law (so-called ‘article 249′), which penalizes sexual abuse of those who are put under someone’s care within a context of health and social care, even if they consented at the time.

Dutch jurisprudence allows for a generous interpretation of this section, so various members of the clergy, mental coaches, teachers, trainers, etc. were convicted under this section. Buddhist teachers should realize that they are not beyond its reach either.

There’s no legal exemption for perpetrators’ idiosyncratic ideas about ‘guru devotion,’ ‘samaya,’ ‘crazy wisdom,’ ‘tantric sex,’ etc. Sexual acts within the contexts defined by this section of our criminal law are penalized—even if the victim/survivor consented.

Originally posted as a long-Tweet on April 28, 2022.

About the author

Rob Hogendoorn

Investigative reporter and academic researcher Rob Hogendoorn (b. 1964) began researching the reception of Buddhism in Western society and culture in the early 1990s. His modus operandi remained the same ever since: independent, inquisitive and provocative.