Karin Spaink is a Dutch national who, for years, has engaged in acts of copyright piracy on the Internet.
At the end of 1995 a group of individuals in Holland, Peter Mante, Karin Spaink and Felipe Rodriguez, began illegally posting Church of Scientology copyrighted materials on the Internet. While they denied that this was an organized act of conspiracy, correspondence exists which shows Rodriguez and Spaink actively encouraging others to post Church copyrighted materials to the Internet while, concurrently, Mante attempted to sell false documents to the Church for 1 million dollars. Law enforcement professionals captured the extortion attempts on tape and worked with U.S. law enforcement officials to bring this extortion to an end.
Following this incident, and perhaps in retribution, Spaink joined with Zenon Panoussis and others in an organized effort to malign the Scientology religion. Spaink regularly participates in a newsgroup and an underground chat channel that encourage harassment of parishioners and acts of hatred against the Church.
As is common practice for such individuals, Spaink uses “free speech” to justify any assault on the rights of others. This pattern of behavior spreads beyond the denigration of religious people, apparently to anyone who opposes her views.
In August of 1998, Spaink and Zenon Panoussis interfered in a legal search conducted by Belgian police on an Antwerp-Brussels train. The abuse Spaink and Panoussis hurled at the officers while they attempted to carry out their official duty, resulted in the search of Panoussis. Spaink, in defense of her boyfriend, verbally threatened to attack the participating gendarmes through the media. In subsequent days, she used her position as a minor columnist, and her presence on the Internet, to attract press attention and commit such character assassination against the senior gendarme present that his career was endangered and he was forced to sue her for damages. According to the complaint filed against Spaink, an internal police investigation fully cleared the officer of any wrongdoing. The complaint goes on to state that the furor that Spaink managed to raise in the press was:
“manifestly in conflict with the truth,” and that “no single proof of her description of the facts has been put forward and that she apparently has only wanted to use the whole situation in order to bring herself in the public attention, for the advantage of her career as a writer.”
In addition to the above abuses of the Internet, Karin Spaink regularly contributes to a newsgroup which provides to any Internet reader detailed information on the fastest, least painful, and most likely to “succeed” methods of suicide. In her postings to this group, Spaink appears to hold herself out as some type of expert on suicide methods and freely passes out advice on the pros and cons of everything from drug overdoses to wrist slashing and hanging.
On July 20, 2001 Spaink was accused by another alt.suicide.holiday participant, Doug Wiser, of being the last person to be in touch with a person called “Little Chris” who apparently committed suicide two days prior.
In her postings, Spaink herself claims credit for having been in close contact with this individual until his death, having written to him:
“I will try to help you go, honestly.”
After he apparently died, Spaink posted something the boy wrote while dying and commented that he finally made it. Although Spaink and other newsgroup members were aware of the existence of a family member, it appears that no one bothered to contact the boy’s mother until after his death.
While the Netherlands has recently passed a law permitting doctor-assisted Euthanasia under certain conditions, such activities conducted or encouraged by individuals on the Internet are not condoned under this law, nor under the laws of the United States and some other countries. Due to the nature of the Internet, these laws can often be evaded. Out of all the posts reviewed on this newsgroup, none were found that tried to talk a person out of committing suicide altogether, although a few attempted to talk the person out of killing themselves in a certain manner because it might not work, or might be too painful. And while no doubt some who seek assistance on such newsgroups suffer from terminal illness, such postings can also be accessed by any adult or child who, while suffering a bout of depression, might feel encouraged to avail themselves of the so-called “help” provided by Karin Spaink and her kind.
In December 2004 Spaink was featured in a UK newspaper article following the suicide of 19-year-old Sarah Cherry. Cherry took her own life after visiting internet suicide chat rooms and reading a book on how to commit suicide that Spaink describes as, a good book, very useful.”
The newspaper is running a campaign called “Stop the Pedlars of Death” and another article relates what the UK government intends to do about those who promote suicide: