Jailed for sex abuse

Jailed for sex abuse

A female cleaner was jailed for seven years yesterday 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.

Presiding judge Mohamad Yunus told the South Jakarta district court that Afrischa Setyani, the only woman among the five cleaners accused in the case, "was found guilty of assisting in violence and sexual abuse of children".

"We sentenced her to seven years in prison and a fine of 100 million rupiah (S$10,500)," he said.

Her sentence was lower than the 10 years prosecutors had called for, AFP reported.

In separate hearings, judges told the court that four 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 eight years in jail and a fine of 100 million rupiah.

The mother of Virgiawan, Madam Murni Hermawati, and other relatives expressed their disappointment with the judges' decisions, reported the Jakarta Globe.

She said: "The judges are heartless. The investigator had treated my son badly. I would let my son go if he was indeed guilty, but he is not, he is innocent.

"There is no justice for us, the poor. I will keep doing my best for my son."

Syahrial's attorney, Mr Muhammad Boli, immediately said they would launch an appeal, calling the ruling "irrational."

"We will definitely launch an appeal. The decision does not make sense," Mr Boli said, adding that there was no evidence of sexual abuse having taken place.

WORST CRISIS

The trials began in August, following the first allegation in April that cleaners had raped a six-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.

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 US$125 million (S$164 million) in damages.

Setyani's lawyer, Ms Isdarwati Aprihadi, maintained her client never confessed and said she would appeal.

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

Canadian Neil Bantleman, an administrator at the school, and Indonesian teaching assistant Ferdinand Tjiong, are also on trial separately, accused of sexually assaulting children.


This article was first published on December 23, 2014.
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