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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Court Ousts 'Hero' Judge in Child Sex Case

BRUSSELS -- The Supreme Court dismissed the chief investigator of a murderous child porn ring for showing bias Monday, raising a huge public outcry and doubts about the ongoing inquiry.


The ruling was immediately criticized throughout the nation after authorities had to admit that several key cases had been badly mishandled before investigating judge Jean-Marc Connerotte stepped in.


Connerotte became a national hero in August after saving two children from the secret dungeon of a convicted child rapist, an inquiry that led to the bodies of four young kidnapped girls and a child-porn network.


But the five supreme court judges ruled Monday that Connerotte could no longer be impartial since he attended a Sept. 21 fund-raising dinner for families of missing children.


The ruling backed Julien Pierre, the lawyer of convicted child rapist Marc Dutroux, who is the main suspect. Pierre had brought the charges against Connerotte five days after the fund-raiser and said the Supreme Court had acted with "infinite wisdom."


"I have lost all faith in justice," said Paul Marchal, the father of one of the kidnapped girls who was found dead, buried on Dutroux's property.


At the Volkswagen car factory on the outskirts of Brussels, hundreds of workers staged a spontaneous strike as soon as they heard the verdict.


A petition of 300,000 signatures was brought to the steps of the Justice Palace on the weekend as several thousands demonstrated throughout Belgium.