Police Incompetence Aided Sex Ring

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BRUSSELS: A Belgian commission concluded that incompetent and perhaps even complicit police enabled convicted child rapist Marc Dutroux and eight others to kidnap and kill at least five girls in 1992. The probe cited a long list of police and judicial blunders, noting that police twice heard girl's voices while searching Dutroux's cellar but did not realize children were imprisoned there. Police also accepted Dutroux's explanation that the construction they saw was for a new drainage system, when in fact he was creating cells to house his kidnap victims. Prosecutors were criticized for taking a lax approach to the case, treating the missing girls' parents as annoyances. Left unanswered was the most disturbing question -- whether Dutroux, an unemployed electrician who still managed to maintain several homes, and others received official protection from highly-placed political figures. Commissioners said only that they had uncovered "indications of possible protection" and said further inquiry was needed. That's scant comfort for the more than 250,000 thousand outraged Belgians who rallied last October to demand drastic changes to the justice system.