In­done­sia sen­tences teach­ers for sex­ual abuse


An In­done­sian court has sen­tenced a Canadian teacher and an In­done­sian teach­ing as­sis­tant to 10 years in jail on charges of sex­u­ally abus­ing three young chil­dren at a pres­ti­gious in­ter­na­tional school in Jakarta.

The South Jakarta Dis­trict Court con­victed Neil Bantle­man and Fer­di­nant Tjiong on Thurs­day of vi­o­lat­ing In­done­sia's Child Pro­tec­tion Law and Crim­i­nal Code.

Bantle­man, who was ar­rested last July, pleaded in­no­cent to the charges that he sex­u­ally abused three kin­der­gart­ners at the Jakarta In­ter­cul­tural School. He said he would ap­peal the ver­dict.

"To­day is com­pletely a mis­car­riage of jus­tice," Bantle­man said. "I'll keep fight­ing."

The three-judge panel also or­dered Bantle­man, 45, to pay a fine of ap­prox­i­mately $7,700 or serve six more months in jail.

"The de­fen­dant has de­lib­er­ately com­mit­ted vi­o­lence and ob­scene acts," the judges said in their ver­dict.

The par­ents of one of the chil- dren have sued the school for al­leged neg­li­gence and are seek­ing US$125 mil­lion in com­pen­sa­tion.

The prin­ci­pal and a num­ber of other teach­ers have said they be­lieve Bantle­man is in­no­cent.

Tjiong, who was tried separately, was given the same pri­son term and fine.

The school is at­tended by chil­dren of for­eign diplo­mats, ex­pa­ti­ates and In­done­sia's elite. It has 2,400 stu­dents aged 3 to 18 from about 60 coun­tries.

In De­cem­ber, four male jan­i­tors at the school were sen­tenced to eight years in pri­son in the same case and a fe­male jan­i­tor re­ceived seven years as an ac­com­plice. A sixth sus­pect in that group al­legedly com­mit­ted sui­cide while in po­lice cus­tody.

The school was also shaken last year in an un­re­lated case over news that Wil­liam Va­hey, an Amer­i­can who taught there from 1992 to 2002, had killed him­self as the FBI was in­ves­ti­gat­ing ev­i­dence that he may have sex­u­ally abused scores of teenage boys dur­ing a 40-year ca­reer at 10 in­ter­na­tional schools across four con­ti­nents.

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