Palu City Police have arrested four students at a senior high school in Tawaeli, Palu City, Central Sulawesi, for the alleged rape of a junior student. The police are still pursuing one further suspect.
Palu City Police Crime and Intelligence Unit chief Adj. Comr. Adi Kristanto confirmed that the four perpetrators, who are still underage, had been held for questioning.
"We are pursuing the other suspect. He was not at home or at school when we looked for him. We guarantee we will find him soon," said Adi on Friday.
The police arrested the suspects following a report by the father of the victim last week. His suspicions were aroused by the behaviour of his daughter, who refused to go to school for two weeks. When her father questioned her, she told him of the incident.
According to the girl's father, she was raped on several occasions in the school bathroom and on a nearby beach. Other students apparently knew about the incident and some had even recorded an attack on their phones.
The victim's parents reported the matter to the Women and Child Protection Unit at the Tawaeli Police station in Palu City, also submitting a copy of the video
When the video spread, a teacher told the victim not to come to school again, but the school did not contact the parents.
The father said he deplored the school's failure to inform him of the matter. He was only invited to the school after school authorities learned that the case had been reported to the police.
"The school must be held responsible, as this concerns our child's future," the father said.
Asked for confirmation, school principal Muhammad Yute denied the victim had been expelled from school and claimed he was unaware of the rape.
"I never knew there was a rape. I only knew that there was a problem between the students, and that it had already been resolved by the administrative head," said Yute.
Central Sulawesi chapter Indonesian Child Protection Commission (KPAI) head Sofyan Farid Lembah said the school was blameable because it had been negligent toward its students. He added that expelling the rape victim from school was the wrong thing to do and that the school must also be held responsible for that.
"The school's foundation head must also be named a suspect. He was negligent and irresponsible," Sofyan argued.
The victim is currently under the protection of the Central Sulawesi KPAI. Sofyan promised to continue providing legal assistance and psychological counseling to the victim.
"We will bring the case before the National Child Protection Commission in Jakarta," said Sofyan.
Meanwhile, Palu Police have begun questioning a man in connection with the alleged rape of several girls at an orphanage that he managed. In the ongoing case, police have yet to detain the man, saying they are still collecting evidence against him.
A number of children from the orphanage reported the man to the Palu Police last month for the allege rape of at least two children and for forcing others to work.
Two orphans alleged they were raped repeatedly over four months and claimed they were not the only victims from the orphanage.
According to the victims, many others were also targeted and ran away or moved to another orphanage rather than file a report.
The victims said they were initially afraid to go to the police because the perpetrator had threatened them. They filed reports after receiving assistance from the Indonesian Ombudsman's Central Sulawesi office and a local NGO.
When police visited the orphanage, they found that no children were any longer in residence there.