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Dr. Moore warns: Protect victims: Fritzl fathered grandchildren in another sexual abduction case.
Expert in Sexual Abuse, Dr. Thomas Moore, says it is imperative that the victims be managed better--compare the 2006 Austrian sexual abduction---to promote victim recovery. Dr. Moore documents victim aftermath in his recent book "Upland Road."
Fritzl's daughter, Elisabeth, now 42, is in psychiatric care, along with two of the children. Her eldest daughter, Kerstin, 19, whose illness unraveled Fritzl's secret after he decided to have her taken to a hospital, is in a medically induced coma, the authorities said.
The abduction, sexual abuse and incest, to which Fritzl confessed Monday, has left this town stunned. It involves nearly a quarter-century of confinement and sexual abuse, and the birth of seven children, three of whom never emerged from the cellar into daylight until last week.
There seems no easy answer, though officials insisted similar crimes had occurred in other countries. Officials said they were struggling to make sense of Fritzl's singular misdeeds.
"He was man of stature," Franz Polzer, the chief of the Lower Austrian Bureau of Criminal Affairs, said at a news conference here, holding up a photograph of a heavy-set, grey-haired man, dressed in black. "He led a double life," Polzer continued, "with one family of seven children, with his wife, and a second family of seven children, with his daughter."
The police described Fritzl as an authoritarian figure who brooked no dissent. Over many years, he built an underground world for Elisabeth and her children out of a warren of cramped, windowless rooms. He provided them with food and clothing, buying it outside town to avoid suspicion.
Photographs show a miniature bathroom, finished with tile and wood trim on the ceiling. A claustrophobic passageway leads to a bedroom. The chamber was accessible through a door four feet high, or 1.2 meters, that opened with a remote control device, for which only Fritzl held the code.
The police said Fritzl's wife, Rosemarie, had no inkling of his secret life, believing that their daughter had fled the family for a cult and was unable to take care of her children. Fritzl forced Elisabeth to give up three of the children as babies, whom he and his wife, 68, raised as their own.
A seventh child, a twin boy, died soon after being born. Fritzl told the police he threw the body into an incinerator.
"You have to imagine that this woman's world fell apart," a local official, Hans-Heinz Lenze, said of Rosemarie.
At the news conference Monday, officials faced sharp questioning as to why this state of affairs could have eluded the authorities for as long as it did. Social workers had visited Fritzl's home on several occasions, after he and his wife began taking care of Elisabeth's children.
Officials defended themselves hotly, saying that if Fritzl was able to keep his wife in the dark, when she lived in a third-floor apartment upstairs from the cellar, how could outsiders have guessed?
It also raises a troubling question: Why did two such horrifying crimes occur in quick succession in Austria, a tranquil, picture-book land that has given the world both Mozart and Hitler? In 2006 a similar crime was discovered:
VIENNA —August, 2006: The Austrian teenager held in an underground cell for more than eight years insisted Monday she didn't miss out on much in captivity and was even spared some temptations and torments of adolescence, such as smoking, drinking and dealing with "bad friends."
On her fifth full day of freedom, 18-year-old Natascha Kampusch broke her silence in a statement that appeared to lend credence to the theory she may have suffered from "Stockholm Syndrome," where victims cope by identifying with their captors.
Kampusch, who was 10 when she was snatched off a street on her way to school and imprisoned in a cramped, windowless cell, described what she went through at the hands of Wolfgang Priklopil, 44, who killed himself within hours of her escape by throwing himself beneath a commuter train.
Kampusch refused to discuss allegations of abuse but indicated that Priklopil at times treated her well, but at other times very badly.
"I don't want to, and won't, answer any questions about intimate or personal details," she said. "I will punish breaches of personal boundaries, whoever crosses voyeuristic boundaries. Whoever tries that better prepare themselves for something."
Text of Statement by Austria Abduction Victim Austrian Police Defend Teen's Privacy Request After Escape Austria Abduction Victim Weeps for Captor Austrian Girl Escaped After 8 Years While Captor Made a Cellphone Call DNA Tests Confirm Identity of Austrian Kidnap Victim She described the man who enslaved her as "a part of my life," adding "that's why I also mourn for him in a certain way."
Kampusch also said she refused to comply with Priklopil's requests to call him "master."
"He was not my master. I was just as strong," she said in the statement, read to reporters by a psychologist.
Still, she said, "I was spared some things — didn't start smoking and drinking and didn't have any bad friends."
"Everyone wants to ask intimate questions, (but) they don't concern anyone," she said. "I feel good where I'm at now."
"Many people are taking care of me," she wrote, adding that she has been in telephone contact with her family. "Give me time until I can give my own account."
Dr. Moore says, "The sexual abusers and their victims could be more easily recognised within our communities with more public education."
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Elsinore Times is published by Alphar Publishing. www.AlpharPublish.com
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