JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — A closed-door trial began Tuesday for the first of five janitors accused of raping a kindergartner in a bathroom at a prestigious international school in Indonesia that is facing a storm of controversy following more abuse allegations.
The custodians contracted to work at the school were arrested in April — five men accused of attacking the boy and a woman accused as an accomplice. Police said one man committed suicide while in custody after drinking bathroom cleanser.
The school was shaken earlier this year in an unrelated case after news surfaced that William Vahey, an American who taught there from 1992 to 2002, killed himself as the FBI was investigating evidence that he may have sexually abused scores of teen boys during a 40-year career at 10 international schools across four continents. However, there have been no allegations that he molested any students in Indonesia.
On Tuesday, a media horde surrounded former janitor Agun Iskandar, 25, as he entered the courtroom. The remaining four suspects, all outsourced from a local company, were expected to appear in court Wednesday, and the men could face up to 15 years in jail if found guilty. The 6-year-old boy's parents have sued the school, seeking $125 million in compensation.
All of the male defendants signed confessions, but one defense attorney, Mada Mardanus, argued they did so only because they were being tortured by police. He said the suspects deny the accusations.
Jakarta police spokesman Col. Rikwanto, who uses one name, strongly denied that any of the suspects were tortured during police questioning.
Mardanus also said the evidence was weak, with medical reports finding the boy had no major injuries or abnormalities even though the prosecutor's indictment alleged he had been sodomized up to 13 times.
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