Former Singaporean manager of child star Tegar Septian arrested over sexual harassment claims

Tegar (left) and local singer Sufie Rashid showing the police reports lodged in Singapore and Indonesia at the press conference. -- ST PHOTO: DESMOND WEE 
Tegar (left) and local singer Sufie Rashid showing the police reports lodged in Singapore and Indonesia at the press conference. -- ST PHOTO: DESMOND WEE 
Indonesian child star Tegar Septian speaking at a press conference on Wednesday. His former manager has been arrested by the police here after two reports were made alleging sexual harassment. -- ST PHOTO: DESMOND WEE 
Indonesian child star Tegar Septian speaking at a press conference on Wednesday. His former manager has been arrested by the police here after two reports were made alleging sexual harassment. -- ST PHOTO: DESMOND WEE 

SINGAPORE - The former manager of Indonesian child star Tegar Septian has been arrested by the police here after two reports were made alleging sexual harassment.

The latest report was lodged on Tuesday by Tegar, 13, who accused Singaporean Arif Dollah, 29, of molesting him "about six to seven times" in the man's home here from the middle of last year until March 31.

An earlier report, filed in February by local singer Sufie Rashid, alleged sexual abuse by Arif, inflicted in 2003.

Speaking at a press conference with Tegar on Wednesday, Mr Sufie told reporters that he decided to speak up only after more than a decade when he learnt of Tegar's case, adding that he felt the need to help make sure justice was dealt and Arif would not be able to commit the offences again.

The accusations against Arif first started in February, after Tegar revealed to his parents Arif's inappropriate behaviour, said the teenager's label director, Mr Donald Kusumo of Harpa Records.

"I was scared and worried," Tegar told reporters, explaining why he had not spoken up earlier about the abuse.

Police reports were filed in early March with the Indonesian police on the alleged sexual harassment by Arif, as well as the theft of Tegar's property, including the singer's passport.

Arif is said to have made Tegar shower together with him, and sleep in his underwear in the same bed.

There were also other worrying acts, said Mr Donald, such as how Arif would restrict Tegar's communication with the teen's family and the label, and find ways to be alone with Tegar. During one overseas trip late last year, Arif and Tegar remained inexplicably unaccounted for - for almost three weeks, added Mr Donald.

By the end of January, Arif's services had been terminated and, shortly after, the scandal grabbed headlines in Malaysia and Indonesia, where Tegar - a street busker before he was discovered - is popular.

Arif has since denied all wrongdoing. Speaking to The Straits Times this week, he called the whole situation a publicity stunt, and that he suspected Tegar was being "forced" to spout such untruths. The last correspondence he had with Tegar was a text message from the teenager asking that Arif cook some food for him.

"This means he values and appreciates me," said Arif, adding that he has been unemployed since leaving his position as Tegar's manager, and has even received anonymous death threats.

"There was no problem with me and Tegar... I was doing the job of a father and a mother to this boy... Then suddenly this happens."

hpeishan@sph.com.sg