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Jakarta Post

Australian man arrested in Bali on pedophile charges

  • Ni Komang Erviani

    The Jakarta Post

Denpasar   /   Wed, January 13, 2016   /  03:14 pm
Australian man arrested in Bali on pedophile charges Suspect: Police officers escort Australian Robert Andrew Fiddes Ellis (center) following questioning at Bali Police headquarters in Denpasar on Tuesday. Ellis was arrested on Monday for alleged sexual abuse of children in Bali.(JP/Zul Trio Anggono) (center) following questioning at Bali Police headquarters in Denpasar on Tuesday. Ellis was arrested on Monday for alleged sexual abuse of children in Bali.(JP/Zul Trio Anggono)

Suspect: Police officers escort Australian Robert Andrew Fiddes Ellis (center) following questioning at Bali Police headquarters in Denpasar on Tuesday. Ellis was arrested on Monday for alleged sexual abuse of children in Bali.(JP/Zul Trio Anggono)

Police have arrested an Australian, identified as Robert Andrew Fiddes Ellis, 70, for the alleged sexual abuse of children in Bali.

Ellis is believed to be part of an international pedophile ring.

Bali Police spokesman Adj. Sr. Comr. Heri Wiyanto said Ellis, who has been living in Indonesia for more than 10 years, was arrested on Monday evening at his rented house in Selemadeg Timur subdistrict, Tabanan Regency.

'€œFour victims have been reported. We suspect there are many more victims we don'€™t know about. We are still investigating the case,'€ Heri said on Tuesday, adding that the police also found a list of names believed to be of victims.

He said the police had questioned the suspected victims on Monday evening and planned to conduct medical examinations on them on Wednesday.

The arrest of Ellis was based on information supplied by the Lentera Anak Bali Foundation, a child-protection organization.

As a result the Bali Police'€™s Women and Children'€™s Protection (PPA) Unit, the Lentera Anak Bali Foundation, Bali-Terre des Hommes Netherlands, and Denpasar'€™s Integrated Service Center for the Empowerment of Women and Children (P2TP2) had conducted a joint investigation since December.

'€œSo, this is not based on reports from the victims. Based on a tip-off we began the investigation, then we found the victims. The victims knew his face, but they didn'€™t know where he lived. So, our personnel conducted an investigation, followed him and then we arrested him,'€ Heri admitted.

He explained that the suspect allegedly groomed his victims by providing them with gifts. '€œHe usually brought the kids to his home and bathed them. Then he committed the sexual abuse,'€ Heri said. '€œOne of the victims said she was bathed and then the sexual abuse began. Before going home she was given sandals and other things, and Rp 200,000 [US$14] in cash,'€ he said.

He said Ellis would be charged under Article 76E of Law no. 35/2014 on Child Protection, which carries a minimum sentence of five years and a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison, and a maximum fine of Rp 5 billion.

In 2010, the Australian Federal Police (AFP) informed Bali Police that Ellis was thought to be involved in pedophilic activities in Indonesia. However, the AFP letter did not seek the arrest or deportation of Ellis.

An investigation was conducted based on the AFP'€™s information but the police failed to find any evidence for an arrest.

Project officer of Bali-Terre des Hommes Netherlands Ida Ayu Made Gayatri alleged that Ellis was part of an international pedophile ring.

'€œWe believe that there are many other victims. Maybe more than 20 children,'€ Gayatri said.

She said Ellis was very skillful and gave many things to his victims, including money, motorbikes, bags, and other things. '€œHe looked professional. He lived in a house located in a quiet place surrounded by bamboo trees,'€ Gayatri said.

Founder of Lentera Anak Bali Foundation Luh Putu Anggreni said his foundation had long harbored suspicions about Ellis, who reportedly had children staying over in his home as well as staying himself in their family homes. '€œWe remind all parents to keep a watch over their kids. They could become victims of people that we never suspect are pedophiles,'€ Anggreni said.

Ellis'€™ arrest is not the first pedophile case in Bali. In April 2013, Buleleng District Court sentenced Dutch pedophile Jan Jacobus Vogel to three years'€™ imprisonment and a fine of Rp 60 million.

Experts have often warned about pedophiles from several foreign countries who frequent the resort island.

Luh Ketut Suryani, a professor of psychiatry at the Denpasar-based University of Udayana, said Bali was a popular tourist destination and could be a safe haven for pedophiles seeking victims.

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