Dutch father who locked up kids in hidden room charged with sexual abuse

The family spent years locked away in the cellar of a farmhouse. (Reuters pic)

AMSTERDAM: Dutch prosecutors said on Thursday they suspected the father of a family that was found locked away in a farmhouse room of having sexually abused two of his nine children.

Police discovered five siblings and their ailing father last month in a hidden room where they appeared to have lived in seclusion for years, at a farm in the north of the Netherlands.

The discovery followed a tip-off from a brother who said he had escaped.

The 67-year-old father was detained at the time on charges of abuse, unlawful detention and money laundering.

In addition to the five children found at the farm and the one who escaped, the man had three other children who did not live at the farm.

Prosecutors said on Thursday they now also suspected the father of having sexually abused two of those siblings.

DNA tests had shown that the children who lived at the farm, estimated to be between the ages of 18 to 25, all had the same parents and that the detained man was indeed their father, prosecutors said.

The children were never registered at birth and had never gone to school, both of which are required by law in the Netherlands.

A 58-year-old man who paid the rent on the farmhouse was taken into custody on similar charges as the father when the family was found.

Both men remain in custody and are expected to appear in court in January.