By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent Worthy News
War Child, which rescues and supports children in conflict areas, said the 54-year-old artist stepped down after “being accused in the Netherlands of sexual misconduct with a minor.”
The announcement came as prosecutors confirmed that a 22-year-old woman filed a complaint against the singer for “lewd groping.”
Borsato allegedly abused her for five years from the age of fifteen after her father died. “I’ve known him since birth, and especially after my father passed away in 2013,” she told Dutch daily De Telegraaf (The Telegraph).
“He was there at my graduation, bought me a bike, went shopping with me. But a lot also went wrong. As my mother worked for Marco, he visited regularly. The abuse started after my father died,” the unidentified woman added. “I felt bad about what Marco did to me, but I didn’t dare to resist because I was afraid of the consequences,” she was quoted as saying.
Her mother, who organized Borsato’s fans meetings and helped answer fans mail, stopped collaborating in 2019 apparently after discovering the abuse allegations in her daughter’s diary.
Following sessions with psychologists and Borsato’s alleged “crying apology,” the young victim decided to “expose the singer’s behavior.” She suggested more victims had not yet come forward.
Other reports also linked him to sexually assaulting a 13-year-old, but it wasn’t clear whether these cases were related.
The incidents with one or more underaged girls allegedly happened while he was a judge on the Dutch televised talent show The Voice Kids.
He reportedly invited candidates for barbecues at his home, where at least some of the alleged wrongdoing took place.
Borsato has come under criticism for not clearly denying the charges. Through his lawyers, he initially asked prosecutors to investigate the sources of the allegations.
He separately said he “decided to retire as War Child ambassador officially.” Borsato added: “I want to focus entirely on my defense and not burden anyone around me. Certainly not organizations like War Child, which are so close to my heart.”
The singer was War Child ambassador for 23 years and often expressed concerns about youngsters and adults suffering in war-torn nations. He became involved with War Child in 1998 when visiting Kosovo and expressing his feelings about suffering in hits.
In the following years, Borsato traveled on his expenses to Sierra Leone, Uganda, and other areas to meet former child soldiers.
Earlier, Borsato and others recorded the song ‘Shalom from Holland’ expressing solidarity to the Israeli people, threatened by missiles from Iraq, during the first Gulf War in 1991.
However, there were questions Wednesday about the future of Borsato’s career following the sexual assault allegations.
The singer only recently recovered from burnout after a bankruptcy and divorce that he said was caused by his infidelity.
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