Indonesian tries Canadian teacher for child abuse

AP News
Posted: Dec 02, 2014 1:02 AM

JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — A Canadian teacher and an Indonesia teaching assistant went on trial Tuesday accused of sexually abusing a kindergartner on the campus of a prestigious international school.

Neil Bantleman and Ferdinant Tjiong, who have been in detention since July, maintain their innocence as do fellow teachers and the principal at the Jakarta International School.

Around 60 teachers and parents of pupils at the school protested outside the South Jakarta District Court in support of the pair.

"Free the innocents. We are here for you Neil and Ferdi. We believe in you," they shouted.

The men are being tried separately in closed-door sessions.

A judge read the charges out against them in Tuesday's session. They were not required to enter a plea.

Five janitors at the school are being tried over the same allegations. A sixth died in custody.

Supports of Bantleman and Tjiong say the victim, who was six at the time the alleged abuse occurred, was subject to suggestive questioning by inexperienced police. The abuse was alleged to have happened at a room in the school during teaching hours.

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The family of the victim is suing the school for $130 million.

The school in southern Jakarta is attended by the children of foreign diplomats, businesspeople and Indonesia's elite. It has 2,400 students aged 3 to 18 from about 60 countries.