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Catholic teacher in Indonesia held for abusing students

Police say suspect admitted he was driven by a habit of watching porn videos
Yance Kadiaman, head of the Ende police's criminal investigation unit, and team members presents the Catholic lay teacher (orange shirt), who is accused of molesting seven elementary school students, to the media on April 17

Yance Kadiaman, head of the Ende police's criminal investigation unit, and team members presents the Catholic lay teacher (orange shirt), who is accused of molesting seven elementary school students, to the media on April 17. (Photo: Ende Regency police)

Published: April 18, 2023 08:42 AM GMT
Updated: April 18, 2023 09:02 AM GMT

A lay Catholic religion teacher in Indonesia with an alleged habit of watching porn videos has been accused of sexually abusing seven elementary school students. 

The 26-year-old teacher, only identified as Charles, was arrested by police in Ende Regency on Flores Island in Christian majority East Nusa Tenggara province on April 17. 

He reportedly teaches at Jopu II Catholic Elementary School in Wolowaru Subdistrict.

Yance Kadiaman, head of Ende police's criminal investigation unit, said investigations have identified seven victims. All of them were minors —  four aged 12 and three aged 11 years, he told reporters.

He said the suspect admitted he was driven by a habit of watching porn videos.

"The suspect's motive is to fulfill desire and lust because he always watches porn on his cell phone," Kadiaman said.

The first incident allegedly occurred in a teachers’ room in November last year.

If convicted, the teacher could face a maximum of 20 years in prison and a fine of 5,000,000,000 rupiah (US$337,266).

This latest case adds to long list of reported sexual abuse crimes committed by teachers in schools in Indonesia, with most cases being committed by religious teachers.

There have been at least 10 cases so far this year, involving 86 victims, according to the Federation of Indonesian Teachers' Union.

Last week, an Islamic religion teacher in North Aceh Regency was arrested for sexually assaulting a student.

Earlier this month, Wildan Mashuri, head of an Islamic boarding school in Batang Regency, Central Java province, was arrested for allegedly molesting 15 of his students.

Last month, a 52-year-old Islamic religion teacher in Cirebon Regency, West Java province, was named a suspect for molesting 11 female students.

In December last year, a Catholic teacher at a state-run vocational high school in Manggarai Regency, East Nusa Tenggara province, was arrested up for a similar crime.

Last year, the federation recorded 17 cases with 117 victims.

Franciscan Father Vinsensius Darmin Mbula, chairman of the National Council of Catholic Education, said such cases were "very astonishing," especially the fact that most perpetrators were teachers of religion. 

"I hope the perpetrators face the maximum punishment so that it can be a deterrent to others," he added.

He said Catholic schools have tried to pay serious attention to this issue by formulating a protocol that regulates prevention and handling of sexual violence cases, as well as a strict selection process for teachers.

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