Father second to be arrested after Dutch ‘sect’ family found hiding out on farm
July 2, 2020
The 67-year-old father of a family found living in a hidden cellar on a Dutch farm has been arrested, as police attempt to unpick the secretive ‘sect’.
It follows the arrest of a 58-year-old Austrian man, Josef B, who rented the building and was detained for 14 days on suspicion of unlawfully depriving the family of their liberty.
It is suspected that the family, comprising six young adults and their father, have spent the last nine years in the basement of the isolated farm in Ruinerwold, Drenthe.
The young adults are four women and two men aged between 18 and 25.
Janny Knol, North Netherlands deputy police chief, confirmed that they had been prohibited from going outdoors, telling Dutch media: "On the farm there was actually a separate, closed-off area and its main aim was to keep the outside world out."
It has been alleged that the two men under arrest are responsible for holding the young adults against their will, after forming a sect.
The police continue to investigate whether the lifestyle of the family is linked to a particular philosophy or religion.
Reports in Dutch media claim that the two men had been neighbours and became friends through their connection with the Unification Church, the worldwide movement often referred to as the Moonies.
The family have been taken to a holiday park, according to local reports. People staying at the park have reported that the family move together in a circle every 30 minutes, a ritual believed to be related to Unification Church beliefs.
Unification Church spokesman Willem Koetsier responded to the investigation, saying: "It’s not our outlook to go and live on a farm and hide from the outside world."
Thirty police officers have been dispatched to investigate the farmhouse and surrounding properties.
The Unification Church was founded in South Korea and combines Judeo-Christian and Eastern philosophies.
Sun Myung Moon, the founder of the movement, was banned from entering 15 European countries, including Britain, on the grounds that the group is a sect. The ban was eventually lifted by Britain in 2005.