fame and glamour

Little Miss Hungary child beauty pageant organizer worked with child pornographer

In February, we wrote that the Hungarian owner and organiser of the Little Miss Hungary child beauty pageant, Ildikó Bartolovics, invited children and parents to photo shootings and competitions abroad and in Hungary, for which she asked for money in advance, and then, after the trips failed, in several cases did not or only partially refunded it. More victims have since told their stories to Atlatszo. We have also learned that the case of Bartolovics, who is accused of, among other things, commercial fraud, will be heard in the Érd District Court in the coming days. The organiser of the child beauty contest had previously worked with a photographer who has since been convicted of child pornography.

The Hungarian organiser of Little Miss Hungary has worked with several photographers over the years. One of them is P. K., who is currently serving a 6-year prison sentence for child pornography and sexual abuse.

The man persuaded girls under 18 – sometimes 14 – to pose for him. At first, the girls were photographed in their clothes, but later they were also photographed in lingerie, bikinis, topless, and naked. There were also cases where the photographer made the girls perform sexual relations or sexual acts. We found him in the pedophile database as well, but not under the name P.K., which was only a ‘stage name’.

The Facebook page of Little Miss Hungary shows that the photographer took several pictures as a member of Bartolovics’ crew. It is not known whether the crimes committed by the photographer were directed against the Little Miss Hungary models, however, P.K. had certainly worked with the contest organiser on several occasions in the past.

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The building of the Central District Court of Pest. Source: Flickr/Átlátszó

P.K., currently serving a prison sentence, once photographed our interviewee’s child. Henrietta Héreginé Kovács saw an advertisement on the Little Miss Hungary Facebook page in 2020. She said she didn’t notice anything strange about how the photographer behaved with the children during the photo shoot. “He was kind, understood the children’s language, and took nice pictures.”

The mother also talked about her experience with the beauty contest organiser. After the photo shoot, Bartolovics offered them a contract, followed by a trip to Dubai and then to London on another occasion. They were unable to go on the trips and wanted the money back.

“We managed to get back 100,000 HUF, but we got tired of promising, so we applied to the notary for a payment order. The case was taken to the bailiff, who was not unfamiliar with the name of Ildikó Bartolovics,” said Henrietta Héreginé Kovács.

Foreign trips cancelled citing riots and Hamas

Erzsébet Novák met Ildiko Bartolovics in 2023 after she sent in a photo of her child. After a photo shoot, Bartolovics offered a contract and mentioned the possibility of going abroad.

The parents first accepted the offer of a trip to France and then would have taken the Dubai trip.

In total, they paid over a million forints in vain.

Bartolovics cancelled France and Disneyland, citing riots, a week before the trip, and offered a trip to London in exchange, then cancelled that too, and then, Dubai, citing Hamas. The mother wondered whether she had even booked a flight to Paris. The airline said no reservation had been made for them.

She informed Atlatszo that her partner filed a criminal complaint against the organiser, and as she understands, several cases on the subject have since been merged. We learned that Bartolovics paid back the money a few days before the publication of our story, but he did not transfer it from her account.

Another of our interviewees, Orsolya Kertész met Ildiko Bartolovics in 2017. Bartolovics convinced her to sign a contract whereby she would mediate work for the child so that they could participate in further photo shoots. Later, they attended two or three photo shoots and Bartolovics offered them a trip to England, for which a contract was signed, and the airfare and the pound exchange (200,000 HUF in total) were paid, but Bartolovics cancelled the trip.

“After that, she offered us to go to London another time, and then she cancelled that too. After that, he came to see me in person to discuss things, but I told her I didn’t want to travel with her anymore, I just wanted the money back. She did give me back a small part of the money, but she still owes me some money” – said Orsolya Kertész.

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Source: Facebook/Little Miss Hungary / Hungary’s Children’s Beauty

Settlement dispute escalates into a threat

In December 2022, Zsolt Szűcs took a friend to a photo shoot of Bartolovics, who also offered his child the opportunity to take a photo for a magazine. After that, Bartolovics offered them various destinations (Salzburg, Dubai, London), sometimes for a photo shoot, and sometimes to participate in a beauty contest. According to the parent, none of these trips materialised, even though the requested amounts were paid.

Bartolovics cancelled the trips to Austria and London due to COVID-19 and illness, and the family refused to go to Dubai. After the trips went nowhere, he repeatedly asked for the money back, which Bartolovics promised to do. In the meantime, the settlement dispute between the two had escalated, and Zsolt Szűcs filed a complaint.

Before the publication of our story, Zsolt had also received a transfer from a third party. He is waiting for the remaining amount to be paid.

Bartolovics declines to comment

Complainants have previously set up several Facebook groups to share their experiences. The largest group now has 129 members. We understand that some of them have recently received their money back – including one of our interviewees in our previous article – but not from Bartolovics’s account.

We contacted the organiser of the competition, Ildiko Bartolovics, to ask her, among other things, whether she was aware that her former photographer was currently serving a prison sentence and whether she had received any parental feedback on the photographer’s behavior in the past. In her response letter, she said she did not wish to comment and added,

“None of this is to say that I am a fraud on any level. I am not. But I won’t prove it to you.”

However, in an ongoing criminal case, the prosecution charges her exactly with fraud with intent to cause great loss and other offences. According to the indictment, between 2017 and 2018, she acted as an intermediary as a rights holder, organiser, and agent for child beauty pageants, despite not having the relevant qualifications, authorisation, licence, and liability insurance. According to the prosecutor’s office, her actions caused damages of several hundred thousand forints each to several victims in at least 20 cases. The criminal case hearing will take place at the Érd District Court on Wednesday.

Translated by Zita Szopkó. The original, Hungarian version of this story was written by Rita Szabó-Gödri and can be found here.