Indonesia jails female cleaner over sexual abuse of boy at Jakarta international school

JAKARTA (AFP) - A cleaner was jailed for seven years on Monday over the sexual abuse of a young boy at one of Indonesia's most prestigious international schools, in a scandal that has rocked Jakarta's expatriate community.

Presiding judge Mohamad Yunus told the South Jakarta district court that Afrischa Setyani, the only female cleaner among five defendants, "was found guilty of assisting in violence and sexual abuse of children". "We sentenced her to seven years in prison and a fine of 100 million rupiah (S$11,000)," he said. Her sentence was lower than the prosecutors' recommended 10 years.

The judges were also expected to deliver verdicts Monday on four male cleaners - Agun Iskandar, Virgiawan Amin, Zainal Abidin, and Syahrial, who goes by one name.

Their trials began in August, following the first allegation in April that cleaners had raped the six-year-old nursery school boy at the Jakarta International School, which has long been favoured by expatriates and wealthy Indonesians but is now facing the worst crisis in its 60-year history.

Several of the cleaners who originally confessed have since recanted, claiming they were beaten by police.

The family of the abused boy is suing the school and seeking US$125 million (S$164.4 million) in damages.

Setyani wept after the verdict was handed down but refused to speak to reporters.

Her lawyer Isdarwati Aprihadi maintained her client never confessed and said she would appeal.

A sixth cleaner was implicated in the case but died in custody, with the police saying he committed suicide by drinking floor-cleaning fluid.

Canadian Neil Bantleman, an administrator at the school, and Indonesian teaching assistant Ferdinand Tjiong, are also on trial separately, accused of sexually assaulting children. They deny the charge.

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