Police in Bali have arrested Kadek Philipus, founder of the Benih Kasih (Seed of Love) orphanage, who is accused of abusing young girls in his care. (Photo supplied)
A Protestant pastor in Indonesia’s Bali province has been accused of sexually abusing young girls in an orphanage he founded.
Kadek Philipus, founder of the Benih Kasih (Seed of Love) orphanage in Buleleng district, was arrested on Oct. 7, about 10 months after police began investigating complaints lodged in December 2018 by the alleged victims.
Dewa Sudiasa, from the Buleleng district police, said there was sufficient evidence to arrest the 44-year-old pastor. He said three children were aged 16, 14 and 12 at the time of the alleged assaults.
"There is still the possibility there are other victims,” he told ucanews, adding that the alleged abuse started back in 2011.
Philipus was charged under the Child Protection Law and could face 5-15 years in prison and a fine of 5 billion rupiah (US$355,000), according to Sudiasa, who said that Philipus had admitted to the crimes.
He reportedly threatened the children with expulsion from the orphanage if they did not agree to his demands.
Gede Sandhiyasa, the head of Buleleng district's social service agency, announced the orphanage would cease operating for the time being following the pastor’s arrest.
He said the children would be returned to relatives or transferred to other orphanages.
The orphanage, established in 2005, cares for 33 children, 15 of whom live there while the rest live with their relatives but are supplied with their daily needs.
Sandhiyasa said the orphanage will not be closed but will be required to restructure its management.
Communion of Churches in Indonesia spokeswoman Irma Riana Simanjuntak said the pastor's actions, if true, needed to be condemned as he had a duty to "provide protection and care for children."
"Law enforcement authorities should provide penalties in accordance with applicable laws," she told ucanews.
She also called for counseling for the alleged victims.