Man Who Held Daughter Captive 24 Yrs in Basement: Prior Sex Assault Alleged

Allegations of a past sexual assault conviction and a stint in jail are the latest details to emerge in the case of Josef Fritzl, the Austrian father who held his daughter captive in the basement for the past 24 years, fathering seven children.

The Times Online is reporting that Fritzl may have been convicted of sexual assault and arson in the 1960's and had spent time in prison. Austrian authorities said they were aware of the allegations of Fritzl's past and were attempting to track them down.

Appearances Are Deceiving

The town of Amstetten is in shock, two years ago they had feted Josef and his wife Rosemarie's fiftieth wedding anniversary. But those who are older have memories of a different Josef, of warning their children to stay away from the man because of rumors he had spent time in prison for raping a woman.

The woman at the center of the story, Josef's daughter Elisabeth, claims her father drugged, then locked her into a makeshift prison hidden in the basement behind a secret door back in 194 when she was just 19. She also claims he repeatedly beat her and raped her. She subsequently delivered seven children, one of whom who died shortly after its birth. Josef allegedly threw the baby boy's body in a furnace.

Josef, a retired electrical engineer, had the Amstetten town authorities inspect the basement/dungeon a year before he locked his 19-yr-old daughter up in 1984. The plans for the basement expansion were approved by the town in 1978, five years later local inspectors gave final approval after they inspected the premises. Some are now questioning as to why the inspectors were not prescient enough to envision the renovated basement would be used as a dungeon for the next 24 years by Josef to repeatedly rape and beat his daughter and raise three of their seven children.

Josef acted as midwife and delivered all seven of the babies born to Elisabeth. The last child, Felix, is now five. The oldest, Kersten, is 19 and lies in an induced coma at a local hospital. Doctors have been unable to diagnosis what has caused Kirsten to be critically ill and on dialysis.

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