Indonesia frees Canadian educator accused of using magical powers to sexually-abuse children
Canadian educator who was convicted in 2015 for using magic powers to sexually-abuse children at Jakarta school in Indonesia has been granted mercy, his family said on Friday.
Critics contended that Neil Bantleman, the convicted Canadian administrator at the esteemed Jakarta Intercultural School, along with 6 Indonesians, was convicted on the basis of a flawed police investigation and unreasonable evidence.
At the trial, the claims that the Canadian educator had used magical powers to abuse the children sexually and rendered the crimes scenes invisible, was tendered.
Mr Neil Bantleman, the Canadian educator, had said in a statement that he was wrongfully accused, convicted and sentenced to 11 years in prison on charges of sexually-abusing children – an offence he did not commit and a crime that never occurred.
He then said that he was pleased that he was granted clemency upholding the justice and human rights. It was reported that he applied for the clemency the previous month. He had however spent almost 5 year behind bars.
The high-profile trial called for the fairness of the judicial system in Indonesia and the competence of the police to carry out proper investigation on criminal matters.
Local news media reported that the 6 Indonesians convicted in the case which includes Ferdinand Tjiong, a teacher’s aide, and 5 janitors working for the school have not been granted clemency. They all claimed to be innocent of the crime they were accused of.
The mother of a 6-year old was the first to bring the allegation, claiming that her son was sexually-abused. The boy, during questioning, told the police that Mr Neil Bantleman conjured a ‘magic stone’ from the sky and inserted it into his anus. No stone was ever submitted during the trial as evidence.
The boy also told the police that the other employees had taken him and other children to secret rooms in the campus where they were sexually-abused.
Families of 9 boys alleged that their children had been abused at different locations within the school including restrooms, kitchen areas and offices during the mid-school days. Police investigation could not identify any secret room.
The police eventually charged Mr Neil Bantleman and Mr Tjiong with raping of 3 boys but never interviewed the employees in school office – a busy place full of staff members and students during the mid-school days. Each of them was convicted on 3 counts.