Questions Raised by JIS Court Case


Lawyers representing four former janitors accused of sexual abusing students at Jakarta International School are now confident their clients will be set free, according to the Jakarta Globe.
School administrator Neil Bantleman and teachers’ aide Ferdinant Tijong from Jakarta International School have spent over 130 days under police detention for allegedly having raped three boys from the prestigious IASAS school.
The case began in April when six janitors were first arrested on suspicion of sexual abuse. Four of the five initially confessed, but recently recanted their statements, alleging that they were tortured. The last janitor died during interrogation, and police say that he committed suicide.
One victim’s family plans to sue the school for $US 125 million. A second family has also indicated that they might also sue the school. A third family has left Indonesia, but also backs the accusations made against the teachers.
According to The Sydney Morning Herald, one family alleges that there are secret dungeons at JIS and that teachers conjured a “magic stone” from thin air and used it to anesthetize the victim.
Ms. Sinclair, Social Studies and Political Science teacher as well as MUN coordinator, attended JIS from eighth to twelfth grade. She recently visited this school for the IASAS MUN conference. “I know that we all share a sense of common identity from our unique experience of attending such a diverse international school where your closest friends were all of different nationalities. Today, many of my closest and oldest friends are my JIS friends,” says Ms. Sinclair.
While she was at the school, she, along with the students, parents, staff, and the IASAS school community, attended a vigil where students recalled positive experiences with both accused teachers.
JIS parents organize daily meals, which they take to the high security prison and students are raising money to fight child abuse in Indonesia. “I am amazed at how strong and cohesive the JIS staff and community have been during this ongoing crisis. There is a feeling of exhaustion, yet there is a strong sense of hope that the truth will be heard,” says Ms. Sinclair.
Over the past few months, the public opinion seems to have shifted in favor of the janitors and the two teachers. According to Ms. Sinclair, most Indonesians believed the teachers were guilty, when they were first arrested.
“However, at the Vigil on November 14th, during the IASAS MUN conference, the Head of School, Tim Carr stated that currently it is believed that 9 out of 10 Indonesians are more likely to believe in their innocence now,” she said.
Photo Courtesy of We Stand With You Ferdi and Neil Facebook Group