The Belgian Public Prosecutor‘s Office has demanded a year suspended sentence against television personality Bart de Pauw. The presenter, actor and program maker sent hundreds of intrusive and sometimes explicit messages to four actresses, two stylists and three interns for years. Four other young women are also mentioned in the case against De Pauw.
On the first day of the case, both the Public Prosecutor and the women’s lawyers spoke. The lawyers and the prosecution painted the image of a man who structurally bombarded women with unwanted texts.
He wrote messages like, “I think you look great sexy by the way… It makes me a bit brooding…”. He also continued, even if his advances were rejected. For example, to an actress, he sent, “I like you so much. I‘m in a zone like this again that I’m not allowed to say what I think or feel, because that‘s inappropriate. I think you’re so hot. I would like to bang you.”
De Pauw would have also visited the houses of some women and would have lay down in the bed of one of the women during a work trip.
So far, De Pauw has shown little repentance, both the lawyers and the prosecutor said. One of the women‘s lawyers stressed that it should never have come to a lawsuit, but that it is necessary because attempts at mediation were rejected by De Pauw. The Peacock insists he only sent text messages in a “flirty” tone.
The prosecutor said he was not looking for imprisonment, but rather to see that the television personality, for example, receives “a victim understanding course and psychological counseling”. “This file is about recognition, not imprisonment. He has already been severely socially punished,” said the prosecution.
“The Peacock is not a monster. He’s more likely to come across as someone with a pathetic side. In certain respects similar to some of his types,” said the prosecutor. “That makes him more human, but not unpunishable. A pathetic person can also cause a lot of turmoil.”
The 53-year-old De Pauw is a well-known presenter and creator of humorous television programs in Flanders. Broadcaster VRT terminated its collaboration with De Pauw in November 2017 following complaints about cross-border behaviour by multiple women.
The case continues on Thursday. Then the lawyers of De Pauw will speak.