The Jakarta Post
The City Police questioned on Monday three staff at the Jakarta International School (JIS) in connection with the sexual assault of a 6-year-old kindergarten pupil at the school, the first reported victim in a string of sexual abuse cases at JIS to have surfaced in recent weeks.
The three persons interviewed were JIS kindergarten and elementary school principal Elsa Donohue, curriculum development staff member Neil Bantleman and teaching assistant Ferdinand Tjiong. The three individuals are American, Canadian and Indonesian, respectively.
The police said last week that after intensive psychological counseling and treatment, the 6-year-old boy, who was allegedly raped by six outsourced cleaners, also claimed to have been raped by Donohue, Bantleman and Ferdinand in school restrooms and offices.
Donohue, Bantleman and Ferdinand were accompanied by their lawyer, Hotman Paris Hutapea, during the questioning.
Hotman, who denied accusations that his clients had raped the student, said that the three would cooperate with police.
'It is odd that after more than three months of silence, suddenly a new allegation from the first victim implicates these teachers,' he said.
Through an official statement made available on Monday, the school questioned the motives behind the civilian lawsuit filed by the victim's mother.
The statement said that 'irregularities' began after JIS denied the civil lawsuit that demanded the school management pay US$13.5 million in compensation.
It also stated that the mother's accusation was nearly identical to a message that was circulated by the mother of a victim in a second sexual abuse incident to JIS students, parents and teaching staff.
In the message, the second victim's mother accused the three of plotting to molest her son in the school's administration office. The message said Bantleman was assisted by Ferdinand in sexually assaulting the pupil while Donohue videotaped the incident.
The three have denied the accusation as slanderous and groundless, and two weeks ago filed a separate report against the mother with the Jakarta Police.
'After these messages were circulated, suddenly we received an additional police reporting that the first victim was also molested by the same individuals, in the same manner written in the message. Not long after leveling the new allegation, the mother increased her demand from $13.5 million to $125 million,' the school said.
The school said that based on the legal strategy being used, if the three JIS employees were found guilty, the probability that the judges would grant the $125 million compensation would increase.
According to the school, the second mother had her son checked for signs of rape at a hospital in Singapore, but the results indicated no signs that her son had been molested or raped. Without citing sources, the school then alleged that the second mother was seeking to obtain a letter from a local hospital that would report different conclusions.
'Therefore, we urge the police to investigate these mothers' true motives in the [two] cases,' the school said.
Meanwhile, City Police spokesperson Sr. Comr. Rikwanto said that the investigations would prove whether or not the three JIS employees had been involved in the sexual abuse case.
'We'll see. We will have to wait until the investigation is completed,' he told reporters.
So far, the parents of three JIS boys have come forward and filed police reports claiming their sons to be the victims of sexual assault.
Five janitors who were declared suspects in the first sexual assault case will stand trial soon, as their dossiers have already been submitted to prosecutors at the South Jakarta attorney's office. (dwa)