The leader of a Dutch scout group was found guilty and sentenced to community service for branding three children aged 11 to 13 during a summer outing in Belgium.
An appeals court in the Netherlands convicted the 24-year-old man to 180 hours of community service after it ruled that he had intentionally branded the children, according to Het Nieuwsblad.
During a summer trip to Sint-Joris-Weert, south of the Flemish city of Leuven, the man branded the backs of three scouts with the letters F.N., the initials of the Frans Naerebout scout group.
The scouts were one girl and two boys all aged 11 and 13 years old, all of whom were injured during a hazing ceremony which involves a pretend branding ritual.
The group leader said the ceremony only involved fire in order to make it more realistic, and that he had checked whether the iron was hot before using it on the children.
The children were instructed to shout as part of the hazing ceremony in order to frighten the others in the group, according to the outlet.
The ruling on Tuesday struck down a previous decision by a lower court, which had ruled that the man had not intentionally meant to burn the children, according to Dutch media.
In addition to his community service sentence, he was ordered to pay compensation to his victims, with the court ordering him to pay €700 to one of the children who suffered the most serious burns.
The Brussels Times