Canadian convicted of child sex abuse in Indonesia surrenders
A Canadian school administrator who was convicted of sexually abusing kindergarten pupils in Indonesia, turned himself into serve an 11-year jail term on Friday, after his acquittal was quashed by the Supreme Court.
The court this week, overturned the acquittals of Neil Bantleman, an administrator at the Jakarta International School, and his Indonesian colleague Ferdinand Tjiong, who were last year sentenced to 10 years for sexually abusing kindergarten pupils.
An appellate court in August quashed the 10-year sentences and ordered them released, but prosecutors appealed.
On Wednesday, the Supreme Court reinstated the guilty verdicts and increased the jail terms to 11 years.
Bantleman surrendered to prosecutors on the resort island of Bali before dawn Friday, and was immediately flown to Jakarta, said Chandra Saptadji, an official at the South Jakarta prosecutor’s office.
Tjiong was picked up a day earlier to serve his sentence.
The U.S. and Canadian governments criticised the Supreme Court’s verdict, warning that it could undermine Indonesia’s reputation internationally.
The U.S. embassy is a founding partner of the school, which is attended by children of diplomats, expatriates and members of the Indonesian political and business elites.
Its name was changed to the Jakarta Intercultural School after the scandal broke.
Parents of at least three kindergarten pupils at the private school, came forward in 2014 with allegations of sexual abuse against members of the school’s staff.
Bantleman and Tjiong denied the allegations and won the support of their colleagues at the school who insisted that they are innocent.
Their lawyers argued that the medical evidence presented by the children’s parents was fabricated and that money was the motive.
A 125-million-dollar lawsuit filed by the parents against the school was thrown out by a Jakarta court last year. (dpa/NAN)