I wish to make a statement regarding Anton Hein.
My name is Dr. William B. Hart and I produce content for the website http://friedspace.com. I am a PhD Mathematician.
In 2004-2005 I lived in the Netherlands, whilst pursuing my mathematical career. I spent roughly one and a half years in the Netherlands.
Currently I direct all proceeds from the website http://friedspace.com to Anton and his wife to help support them, and their counter-cult ministry.
I am a close personal friend of Anton Hein's, having met him at his Christian house group shortly after going to the Netherlands.
My own religious background is with the Baptist and Anglican churches. I am an evangelical Christian and totally committed to the Lord.
I fully support Anton Hein, having witnessed his ministry first hand, having become fully acquainted with him as a person and having understood fully allegations that were made about him.
Firstly, Anton makes these allegations known of his own free will. He could quite easily move, change his name and be anonymous. However, he does not try to deceive anyone, but makes the information available willingly online and ensures that people who attend his house group for more than a few Sundays are aware of that information.
As a close personal friend of Anton Hein, I have heard the entire story (including details that he is not able to make public).
I assert that Anton cannot make the full details of the case known publicly for very good moral and legal reasons. Others can also verify this to be the case and Anton mentions that references can be obtained from him upon request. I also assert that the details which can't be publicly disclosed have a direct bearing on the case and particularly on his wongful conviction. Without that information, it is difficult at best to make a decision about Anton's case.
Regarding Anton's house group. This is nothing more than a small group of Christians (usually less than five people - not always the same group) coming together at the home of Anton and his wife, to read the Scripture and discuss it together, pray, sing and share whatever is on the hearts of the people who meet there. Anton does not pretend to be an ordained minister of that group, and the meeting is one of sharing and discussion, not one where a single person leads and directs others.
The two or three times I have seen Anton around children, they have been with their parents, or, his wife (and obviously myself) have been present. At no time did I observe any improprietous behaviour on Anton's behalf. Anton is tremendously careful about this issue, to appear above reproach.
For most of the past few years, Anton has been relatively housebound because of a recurring illness. Although his wife works with children on occasion, this is done at her place of work, which is a government approved facility. Anton does not accompany his wife to work.
I have hesitated for a long time to come forward and make a statement to Anton's defence online, mainly because Anton does not approve of me doing so. However, in light of a recent spate of harrassment he has received, I have decided to step forward and make a statement supporting his claim that, as far as I am able to discern, he was innocent of the crime that he was accused of and that he is an upstanding Christian who toils tirelessly for the gospel, even despite adverse circumstances.
In the Netherlands, Anton and his wife have been quite poor. One imagines that the support that he receives from the Government (because of his debilitating illness), from sponsors of his site and from his wife's salary, must amount to a small fortune. I can tell you (since I have some insight into Anton's finances), that he has lived below the poverty line in the Netherlands (it is an expensive place to live), has been in the situation of barely being able to afford to feed himself and his wife, and the guests who come to their house, and certainly he and his wife do not live in style.
Facts in this statement are based on my direct knowledge of Anton as a person, the fact that I have verified his counter-cult ministry and its effectiveness and of course my knowledge of the other facts in his case which cannot be made public.
In all the years Anton has been running his websites and after all the thousands of people who make use of that information every month, Anton has only three or so regular supporters, one of whom is an atheist! This appears to be a result of the fact that many people expect to use his information for free because it is "produced by a brother in Christ". All the while, Anton has toiled away at the site, day and night, receiving a pittance for his efforts. But Anton rarely complains about this and works day and night for the Lord.
[Update: Anton reports that in recent months his financial situation has improved somewhat, mainly due to advertising which he has placed on his site. Although he has little control over what is advertised - the perpetual downside of raising funds in this manner - it has apparently worked well enough to stand in lieu of donations.]
As to the effectiveness of Anton's counter-cult work, I have witnessed this and can testify to the fact that it is effective. Anton and his wife also receive threats from cults at their home due to this work.
Anton's doctrine is very clear and biblical. He has a statement of his beliefs online, and I have personally never heard him deviate from this. I have studied the Bible personally for many years and never heard Anton misspeak with regard to doctrine. He is most certainly not a "false teacher" as some have labelled him.
As to the warrant for his arrest, it is my understanding that both the Americans and the Dutch know where Anton lives. He is not incognito but lives as Anton Hein, with his wife.
People seem to forget that Anton had the permission of the authorities in California to return to Holland for a month (that should tell you something for a start). Furthermore the Dutch Ministry of Justice allows Anton to remain in Holland on the basis that he was wrongfully and maliciously prosecuted in California and that according to them, he had committed no crime, and yes, they are fully aware of the details of the case, as am I.
The psychiatrists involved with the case, the lie detectors (inadmissible in court), the girl's mother, Anton's wife and all of Anton's close friends know that Anton is innocent. Surely that says something! Is it just possible that those who choose to persecute Anton online just might be missing some of the crucial facts that Anton is not able to make public?
The public prosecutor in the case was paid to do one thing, get Anton convicted, no matter what the cost to justice. That is what he did. He made a plea bargain with Anton, and due to Anton having bad legal counsel, he took that plea. This does not equate to a fair trial.
If Anton Hein had the funds to return to America and pay a decent lawyer to clear his name (if that were even possible given the nature of the legal system), I am sure he would jump at the opportunity to do so. However no one has stepped forward to offer funds to a defense campaign for Anton. Why is that? ALL of the evidence indicated Anton was innocent, yet he was convicted anyway.
I find it disturbing that so many people, who have been told that they do not have all the facts of the case, and for very good reasons, choose to go online and continue to defame Anton. Not only is this so, but they presume his guilt before making their arguments, call him a "whack", distort the facts by claiming that he "fondled the girls vagina", and by making other statements which demonstrate their own ignorance of the case at hand.
Let me make a few points:
1) All Dutch citizens are required to be registered with the Government in Holland. They know where Anton lives.
2) Anton applied the cream to the girl via an applicator. There is nothing morally bankrupt about the procedure itself: doctors, gynaeocologists and other medical professionals do far more invasive things all the time with the consent of the women they treat. If someone were dying on the side of a road, you might attempt CPR or other first aid without being a medical practitioner of any kind. There are even instances of people performing operations on people to save their lives, without medical training. When the situation demands it, because time is of the essence, a person will do what they have to. In this instance, as I understand it, Anton was doing what he considered to be a time critical application of spermicide to kill sperm (not his - obviously - a fact which bears thinking about) that had made its way into the vagina. This was with the girl's consent and at her request. Although it is ill advised to do such a thing, Anton acted with a clear conscience in a difficult situation. In hindsight he knows it was the wrong thing to do (apparently, amongst other things, being illegal in California). He is very sorry that he did this, and has lived with the matter ever since.
3) Anton fully served his jail sentence for his "crime" (he is wanted for parole violation after serving the sentence, NOT because he skipped bail before being imprisoned).
4) The culture in the Netherlands is quite different. Those people who believe that the Netherlands is wholly more conservative, have no clue what they are talking about. On Dutch beaches, women lie naked, and men walk along the beaches for the sole purpose of gazing upon them. I have never been to such a beach [update: I may have happened upon such a beach in a recent visit to the Netherlands whilst cycling with a friend - not Anton - along one of the many canals]. The culture regarding nudity and sexual matters is quite different to America. The culture is likewise different again in Australia, my home country. It is a testament to the parochial nature of americans that they believe that the rest of the world is the same as America, or worse still, that America should apply the same standards to the rest of the world as are applied to the US.
In Amsterdam tourists enter "coffee shops", which do not sell coffee, but drugs. The Dutch authorities know about and support such institutions. Further down the road women stand in windows, naked, attempting to entice men inside for sexual services. These women are exploited, the Dutch authorities know about it, and do nothing. I personally was embarrassed to happen upon such a "shop window" whilst walking down the street with an eminent Dutch mathematician. He apologised profusely, stating that he didn't realise that such windows existed in that particular street. We both blushed very red. Dutch culture is not quite as conservative as you think!
5) As an Australian, I wonder if I had been in the same situation as Anton, that I would not have done precisely the same thing! [Do not misunderstand this statement: I am NOT saying I *would* do the same thing, or that what was done is the correct or best way to deal with that situation. I am simply saying that had I been in precisely the same situation as Anton with respect to sexual education, in the precise difficult circumstances, I am *uncertain* whether I would have acted differently. This is an important distinction to make.] Given the sexual education that I received in Australia, I might have remembered that application of spermicide after intercourse has occured, would not likely be effective, and so for that reason, I may not have done what Anton did. However, had I not known this fact (as I suspect many people do not), had I believed that time was of the essence, I may have done precisely what Anton did. Of course you can be sure that now that I know such things are illegal in this country, there is NO CHANCE that I will ever become involved in such a situtation. In the US, I understand that some people will not even pull screaming people out of a burning car for fear of being sued or imprisoned for prolonging suffering. I find that to be morally repugnant, as an Australian, and I hold it against the American culture, which I find is often litigious and pharisaical. [Again, do not misunderstand: there are many things I love about American culture and many things I enjoy the benefits of. All cultures have their downsides, including my own, and this particular issue is apparently a downside of various parts of American culture.]
6) Some have objected on the grounds that Anton ought to have known what doing that would do to a woman. Unfortunately as a man, I can confirm that most men would not particularly understand. But that does not mean that all men are evil or monsters. Anton is happily married, and I have observed him publicly kissing and hugging his wife and it is clear they have a happy and cherished relationship. I very much doubt this would be the case, if the things that people accuse him of had any truth to them whatever. Anton's wife is a normal, happy, functional human being with an important and very difficult job as a counsellor. Do you think this is a likely scenario if Anton were a child molestor?
To those who would persecute Anton, I would say: for goodness sake, consider the facts of the situtation with a sober mind and make a right judgement. Stop persecuting this man without having all the facts of the situation and stop making Anton your own personal crusade.
There are people out there who are ministers of religion and who do abuse children. Find them and bring them to justice. But do you really think that such a person is likely to make information about their past available on the internet, publish their name and address and correspond with you by email about it. Get real! People do these things in the dark and cannot stand the light. They would never volunteer to expose themselves the way Anton has. Stop being so unreasonable and think for a moment about the incredible grief you bring to this man. I know of this grief because I have talked to Anton about it and helped share his burden as the Scripture commands us to share the burden with our brothers and sisters in Christ.
To those who abuse Anton online, I say, stop being so naive as to think you are so clever. Do you really think that by abusing this man online that you are winning any points with anyone. Do you really think that bringing child molestors to justice would be as easy as looking up their address online, providing it to the authorities and having them serve a second prison sentence for the crime they already served time for. It is a disgrace that people can act in this way and be so ignorant. Catching child molestors is a dangerous and difficult task that consumes a large amount of public funds. If you want to make it your personal crusade, put your money where your mouth is and commit to a fund dedicated to bringing real child molestors to justice. Or commit to a fund designed to help abused women. Do you know that Anton's wife works for such an organisation. Do you think she would be doing this if Anton really were a criminal. Get real!
If I thought there was any likelihood of Anton being guilty, I would not be here providing a reference for him online.
To brothers and sisters in Christ, I beseech you to consider the facts of the situation, put away your prejudice (judgement before the facts are known: pre-judgement) and if after all is said and done, you consider Anton to be who he is accused of being, then deal with it via the appropriate authorities instead of just smearing his name online in a cowardly and unaccountable manner.
I would be happy to answer questions from any *genuinely* concerned individual regarding Anton Hein by email. My email address is:
(obviously you have to remove something and change something to make it work). But please understand, I am an incredibly busy person and will NOT be dragged into a debate about Anton. I have made my statement online, and will not further defend what I have said online. If you contact me, please ensure that you have genuine questions.
I am happy to provide a means for people to verify that I am who I claim to be so please do not hestitate to ask for verification if you have any doubts.
Because of Anton's countercult ministry, I cannot provide you with his address, nor can I tell you of the facts in the case which Anton cannot make public. They are not public for very good reasons. Unfortunately you'll have to take my word about that.
Yours in Christ,
Dr William B. Hart
Addendum: Some people have pointed out that neither I not Anton have made statements expressing sympathy for the victim in this situation. I want to make it quite clear that I do believe the girl involved was a victim in the whole situation and that a victim should not be blamed.
Anton makes statements to this effect online and even goes so far as to say that he blames no one but himself for the resulting legal problem that he faced and the incorrect way he dealt with the situation in question. He has also stated that he should have known better. He made a grave error of judgement and has taken full responsibility for that. [That is of course quite different to admitting that he committed the crime with which he was convicted. The crime as outlined in the law has a specific test, which the situation clearly does not meet. Initially Anton was released after making the full details of the situation known, since the judge was convinced that he had not broken the law that he was eventually convicted of. One needs to make a distinction between being guilty of making a mistake and handling a situation the wrong way, and actually breaking the law.]
None of this, however, changes the fact that Anton is deeply distressed at the horrible situation that the girl was involved in. She is a victim of the other circumstances that Anton describes in his statement and she certainly deserves our sympathy. The girl was in a socially unjust situation and many bad things were done to her (though not by Anton), so she was certainly a victim. She deserves fully our sympathy and needs to know of our resolve as individuals and as a society to stand against abhorrent behaviour towards children (or anyone for that matter).
This statement is my considered opinion and I believe what I have stated here to be the truth. 25-Mar-2006 (Slightly edited/updated Oct 2006).