The disciplinary court in Ghent suspended the East Flemish top magistrate Johan Sabbe on Monday for a period of six months, of which three months with a postponement after transgressive behavior towards his former female driver.
Johan Sabbe (60), the public prosecutor of East Flanders, has been inactive since the end of June after an investigation was started against him for transgressive behavior. The cause was a complaint from a woman who had worked for a while as a driver for the magistrate. She accused her then superior of “unwanted and inappropriate” behavior. Sabbe had to answer last month before the disciplinary court, which must rule on a possible sanction for the magistrate if he has violated the dignity of his office. During that session it became clear that Sabbe had sent dozens of sexually explicit messages to the woman. According to the magistrate, everything was done by mutual consent. “Read the chat messages: nothing has happened against her will. There has only been a relationship of two people who were in love with each other to some degree. But nothing has been crossed, ”he said during that session.
The disciplinary court is now of the opinion that these are very serious facts. “The disciplinary court is of the opinion that the person concerned has sent explicitly sexually colored and at least one very personal photo of himself to the complainant for months,” it said during the ruling. “The person was aware that this involved a risk and was also well aware that once these messages were sent, they escaped his control and could fall into the hands of third parties. Such an attitude is fundamentally against the professional prudence and dignity that can be expected from a police chief. ”
The disciplinary court imposed a suspension of six months on Johan Sabbe, of which three months with a postponement. In principle, he can therefore become a police officer again in three months, while a criminal investigation of the Ghent Public Prosecutor’s Office is currently still underway into sexually transgressive behavior. It is not yet clear today whether he will also be prosecuted.