Dutch Scout Leader on Trial for Allegedly Branding Children

THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — A youth leader in the Netherlands has gone on trial for branding three children with a hot iron during a Scouting initiation ceremony.

Prosecution spokeswoman Elke Kool said Thursday the 23-year-old suspect is accused of burning two letters into the backs of three children between the ages of 11 and 13 at a camp in Belgium last summer.

Kool says the initiation ceremony usually involved stamping the letters on children’s backs in ink, but the youth leader allegedly used a heated iron for unknown reasons.

Prosecutors have demanded a 7-month prison sentence, with three months suspended. The verdict is expected in two weeks.

Scouting Nederland condemned the man’s alleged actions and said “it is terrible what happened.” The organization says he will be expelled, if convicted.

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