15:40 GMT05 December 2020
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    Dutch Scouts are traditionally stamped with ink during initiation rituals and asked to scream as if they were being branded with hot iron.

    A court in the Netherlands has acquitted a youth leader charged with branding three children with a hot iron during a Scouting initiation ceremony.

    On Thursday, a court in Middelburg ruled that there was not enough evidence that the 23-year-old man, whose name was not mentioned, deliberately burned the children at a summer camp in 2017.

    The judges said that the man had indeed been negligent, but they did not convict him of it because prosecutors had not charged the defendant with negligence.

    Prosecution spokeswoman Elke Kool said the defendant had burned two letters into the backs of children between the ages of 11 and 13 at a camp in Belgium last summer.

    Kool went on to say that 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.

    READ MORE: Boy Scouts of America's Move to Accept Girls Causes Wave of Pearl-Clutching

    During initiation ceremonies, young Scouts are asked by their leaders to scream as if they are being branded in earnest.

    The Dutch scouting organization, Scouting Nederland, said it would never hire the man again as it had lost "lost all faith in his leadership qualities."


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    acquittal, hot iron, initiation ritual, scout leader, Scouting Nederland, Netherlands
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