Carl De Moncharline, a well-known Brussels nightlife figure and owner of the now-closed The Wood club in Bois de la Cambre, has been accused of drugging and assaulting minors. Several victims and witnesses came forward with their stories in an investigative RTBF programme.
In a Facebook post, De Moncharline denied all allegations, claiming he would sue for defamation. After being active in Brussels nightlife for over 30 years, he now runs L'Imperial bar and is still involved in organising parties in Brussels.
Several allegations were made on the Instagram page, 'Balance Ton Bar', (Translation: Tell on your bar) which shares testimonials on sexual harassment in Brussels nightlife. Young women have spoken up about sexual misconduct perpetrated by the management of The Wood, initially not mentioning any names – “because everyone knows who it is”.
Several people came forward in RTBF programme ‘Investigation’, detailing how they were intoxicated with drinks that De Moncharline had given them. Afterwards, he would grope, kiss and engage in non-consensual sexual acts with them.
The witnesses also include a young man, Sita, who was 18 years old at the time, who blacked out after having been given a drink by De Moncharline. He describes how he was taken to the nightclub owner's home and was abused. Since then, he has been in 'survival mode', suffering from low self-esteem, having never previously spoken out about the attack before.
"Now I'm 26 years old and I see that this person is still active in the nightlife, which is a real injustice for me. That's why I'm speaking out today, even though I didn't file a complaint at the time."
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Student Valentine (23), who was 17 at the time and regularly went out to The Wood club, told RTBF that she had come into regular contact with Carl De Moncharline. “He sometimes let us in for free. I had his mobile number, if I texted him to say how many I was coming with, we could walk right through.”
One evening, De Moncharline gave her a beer that wasn’t tapped straight from the bar. “From that moment on, everything became blurry,” Valentine reveals.
“I'm not exactly sure what happened after that, but suddenly I was on another floor in The Wood. He started kissing me, touching my chest. I realised it mentally, but physically I had no control over my body. I was paralysed. I realised what was happening, that I didn’t want that, that I wanted him to stop, but I couldn’t make a sound or move,” she said.
Valentine only realised the severity of the situation a year later, when she filed a complaint. According to RTBF, there are currently three complaints against De Moncharline. In the programme, 59-year-old mother Angèle also details how she came into contact with him.
She went to pick up her daughter’s two friends at the nightclub, 16 and 17 years old at the time, after they had called her in a state of panic. They shared a similar story to Valentine’s, saying they felt unwell after De Moncharline offered them drinks, and that he had groped one of them. Angèle took them to the hospital, where MDMA is said to have been found in their blood. The mother also filed a complaint.
De Moncharline denied all allegations in a Facebook post on Wednesday night, saying that the RTBF programme is “purely for sensation.” “I have offered thousands of glasses without any problem,” he writes. “I never serve the glasses myself, it is my staff who are responsible for that, as I am not behind the bar.”
He did not want to comment on the RTBF programme himself, but his lawyer Jean-Pierre Buyle said De Moncharline was “particularly shocked” and “disputes the facts”. Buyle said the statements made by the witnesses do not match the profile of his client at all, pointing out that De Moncharline has been active in the Brussels nightlife for 30 years.
The nightclub owner says he has turned many people away for drinking too much or misbehaving, which would have resulted in many enemies. He also reports that he has filed a defamation complaint following the broadcast.