Saturday, April 04, 2015

Educators Found Guilty in Sexual Assault of Kindergartners in Indonesia

An Indonesian court found a Canadian educator and an Indonesian teaching assistant at one of the country’s most prestigious international schools guilty of sexually assaulting three kindergarten students on Thursday. Neil Bantleman, a guidance counselor at the Jakarta Intercultural School, and Ferdinand Tjiong, the teaching assistant, were sentenced to 10 years in prison by a three-judge panel at the South Jakarta District Court. The two men have been in custody since July after the parents of three boys filed police complaints and the men’s legal team said that they would appeal. Dozens of parents and school employees rallied outside the courthouse on Thursday in support of Mr. Bantleman and Mr. Tjiong.

The case erupted last April when the Indonesian police arrested a janitor who worked for an outside cleaning company on charges of child sexual assault at the school’s main campus. The janitor and five other cleaners who were arrested later were accused of having gang-raped a 6-year-old kindergarten student sometime in March 2014, in a student bathroom less than 30 feet from the boy’s classroom. Five janitors were found guilty of child sexual assault and were sentenced to prison terms ranging up to eight years; the sixth committed suicide. Months after these allegations became public, the families of the first boy who came forward and two other boys in the kindergarten program filed complaints with the police also accusing members of the school’s teaching staff of sexual assault. Claiming that Mr. Bantleman, Mr. Tjiong, and the elementary school’s American principal, Elsa Donohue, had drugged and raped the children and other students in the school’s administrative offices and that they had videotaped the assaults. Ms. Donohue has not been detained or charged with any offense and no videotapes of the alleged assaults were ever found.

Cases such as these are so extremely disturbing, I just do not understand. It is such a shame also for this to be happening at what is supposed to be a prestigious school. If this is one hundred percent accurate, this school clearly needs to reconsider some of their protection for these children, because this was happening right in front of people’s faces.

Brittany Schrum



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