Janitors jailed in Jakarta Int’l School sex abuse case

Agence France-Presse
Janitors jailed in Jakarta Int’l School sex abuse case
(UPDATE) Their lawyers maintain their clients never confessed or were beaten by police

JAKARTA, Indonesia (UPDATED) – Five janitors were jailed on Monday, December 22, over the sexual abuse of a young boy at one of Indonesia’s most prestigious international schools, in a scandal that has rocked Jakarta’s expatriate community.

In separate hearings, judges told the South Jakarta district court that 4 male cleaners – Agun Iskandar, Virgiawan Amin, Zainal Abidin, and Syahrial, who goes by one name – were “proven legally and convincingly guilty of committing sexual abuse and violence on minors”.

They were each sentenced to 8 years in jail and a fine of IDR100 million ($8,000).

Afrischa Setyani, the only female cleaner among the 5 defendants, was earlier Monday “found guilty of assisting in violence and sexual abuse of children”, presiding judge Mohamad Yunus said.

“We sentenced her to 7 years in prison and a fine of IDR100 million ($8,000),” he added.

Their sentences were lower than the prosecutors’ recommended 10 years.

Their trials began in August, following the first allegation in April that cleaners had raped the 6-year-old nursery school boy at the Jakarta International School, which has long been favoured by expatriates and wealthy Indonesians but is now facing the worst crisis in its 60-year history. (READ: Trials to start in Jakarta school sex abuse scandal)

Several of the cleaners who originally confessed have since recanted, claiming they were beaten by police.

The family of the abused boy is suing the school and seeking $125 million in damages.

Their lawyers said their clients were innocent and would appeal.

The school’s workers union in a statement said medical reports from 4 hospitals “stated that there was no evidence of sexual abuse” and called for the cleaners and their families to appeal to the High Court.

“We believe the truth is there and there will always be a way to uncover it,” union representative Rully Iskandar was quoted as saying.

A 6th cleaner was implicated in the case but died in custody, with police saying he committed suicide by drinking floor-cleaning fluid.

Canadian Neil Bantleman, an administrator at the school, and Indonesian teaching assistant Ferdinand Tjiong, are also on trial separately, accused of sexually assaulting children. They deny the charge. (READ: Canadian, Indonesian on trial over Jakarta school sex abuse– Rappler.com

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