JAKARTA, Indonesia – Prosecutors on Thursday, March 12, called for a 12-year jail sentence for a Canadian and an Indonesian accused of sexually assaulting children at a prestigious Jakarta school at the center of a wide-ranging abuse scandal.
Neil Bantleman and Ferdinand Tjiong are accused of abusing 3 young children at the Jakarta International School (JIS), which has long been favored by expatriates and wealthy Indonesians in the capital but is now facing the worst crisis in its 60-year history. (READ: Canadian, Indonesian on trial over Jakarta school sex abuse)
School administrator Bantleman and Tjiong, an Indonesian teaching assistant, are the most prominent figures in a high-profile case that has also seen cleaning staff jailed over the rape of a young boy and the revelation that a suspected serial pedophile used to teach at the school.
Both Bantleman, who also holds British citizenship, and Tjiong have denied committing abuse, and have received strong support from the school and parents of children there over their claims of innocence, with their legal team suggesting the case could be motivated by money.
When the pair went on trial in December, scores of supporters, mostly parents, rallied outside the South Jakarta District Court.
At a closed-door hearing at the same court Thursday, prosecutors recommended a 12-year sentence for Bantleman, lower than the maximum jail term of 15 years under Indonesia’s child protection laws.
“We recommend a 12-year prison sentence for him. He has committed sexual abuse with violence towards children,” prosecutor Ade Rohimah told AFP after the hearing.
Prosecutors also said they recommended a 12-year sentence for Tjiong.
The scandal started in April last year, when the first allegation emerged that cleaners had raped a nursery school boy, after which more parents made abuse claims.
In December, 5 cleaners were jailed over the abuse of the young boy. Four male cleaners were jailed for 8 years each for sexual assault, while the 5th, a woman, was jailed for 7 years for assisting in the abuse. – Rappler.com