Police hunt other sex abusers, as victim count tops 110

A suspected child abuser appears at a media briefing at the Pekanbaru police precinct, Riau, on Tuesday. He is one of three brothers suspected of sexually assaulting at least six underage children. One of the suspects is still on the loose.

INDONESIA - The Sukabumi City Police are investigating the possibility pedophile suspect Andri Sobari alias Emon, 24, had accomplices.

As of Tuesday afternoon, the number of reports of sexual abuse or harassment had grown to 110.

"We have identified the possible suspects and our team is trying to locate them," Sukabumi City Police general crime division head Adj. Comr. Sulaeman said as quoted by Antara news agency on Tuesday.

Sulaeman said that the possible suspects were Andri's neighbour, who reportedly fled when the sexual abuse case made headlines Friday.

Sulaeman said two of the victims had identified a different abuser.

Andri, who works in a soft drink factory, admitted to sexually abusing at least 38 children. He has listed all his victims in a book.

According to Sukabumi City Police chief Adj. Sr. Comr. Hari Santoso, Andri also claimed he had been a victim of sexual abuse.

Police examined Andri and found he had injuries that would corroborate that statement.

"We are currently pursuing the two perpetrators, but have yet to name them suspects. We also cannot confirm if the statements we have received are true as we have yet to examine the concerned parties," Hari told The Jakarta Post over the phone.

After being given information by Andri, police searched the homes of the two potential suspects. However, neither were home when the raids took place.

The Sukabumi City Police arrested Andri on Friday following a report filed by the parents of one victim.

Andri allegedly offered his victims between Rp 25,000 (S$2.75) and Rp 50,000 (S$5.50), and sometimes clothes, before taking them to quiet places, such as the former Lio Santa hot springs, in broad daylight.

According to the police, Andri had been actively molesting boys, aged between 8 and 13, since January this year.

"Most of the victims were residents of his neighborhood," Hari said.

The suspect will be charged with violating the Child Protection Law and the Criminal Code (KUHP), which carry a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison.

Based on the preliminary investigation, Andri admitted to having sexually abused an orphaned boy who died of acute malnutrition recently. The child was diagnosed with acute malnutrition on April 5.

The assistance of mental health experts was requested during the suspect's questioning. Police have also taken blood and urine samples from him, to see if he was suffering from any contagious diseases.

The medical team reported that Andri was found to be venereal and infectious-disease free.

Earlier, Sukabumi Deputy Regent Achmad Fahmi said that the Sukabumi Community Service Center for the Protection of Women and Children (P2TP2A) had provided support throughout the case.

For the victims, Fahmi said, counseling was important to prevent them from becoming perpetrators of sexual abuse themselves in the future.

"The counseling is important to address the trauma inflicted by abuse," said Sukabumi P2TP2A secretary Joko Kristianto.

This is another in a string of pedophile cases that has come to light recently across the country.

Earlier, five suspects were arrested in connection to the reported molestation of a 6-year-old kindergarten student at the Jakarta International School (JIS) in Jakarta, while in Aceh, an officer from the Aceh Police headquarters, identified only as Brig. M, allegedly abused two elementary school students aged 7 and 8.

Meanwhile, National Commission on Child Protection (Komnas PA) head Arist Merdeka Sirait said that his organisation had received 3,339 reports of violence against children, 58 per cent of which were sexual abuse cases.

"This year alone, we have received 32 cases of violence against children involving 240 victims, male and female, aged below 11," Arist said as quoted by Antara.

So far, he said, Komnas PA had handled around 1,600 child abuse cases. Of the cases, around 18 per cent was sexual abuse by minors, while 58 per cent were victims of pedophiles.