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Indonesia international school faces new sex abuse claims

Indonesia has ordered the nursery of a prestigious Jakarta international school to close following an alleged sexual assault/AFP

Indonesia has ordered the nursery of a prestigious Jakarta international school to close following an alleged sexual assault/AFP

JAKARTA, Apr 24 – A prestigious Indonesian international school faced a mounting crisis Thursday, as new sexual assault claims emerged and an ex-teacher was revealed to have been a suspected paedophile under FBI investigation.

The Jakarta International School had already been ordered this week to close its nursery following allegations a six-year-old boy was sexually abused by cleaning staff in the toilets.

Claims of assault at a school favoured by the city’s expatriate community and wealthy Indonesians have sparked public anger and focused attention on the high incidence of sexual abuse at educational institutions across the country.

A second young pupil has now approached the official child protection agency with a parent claiming the child had recently been abused at the nursery, and had witnessed the first victim being abused, the agency revealed.

“We were shocked when we heard that statement, that the young one had been abused,” said agency official Erlinda, who goes by one name, adding that the parents had been reluctant to report it to the police.

School head Timothy Carr said it was the first time he had heard the new allegations and insisted the institution was working to allay concerns.

He said the school was working with officials to “promote healthy standards of education in Indonesia and child protection”.

The school has also revealed that William James Vahey, a 64-year-old US citizen described by the FBI as a “suspected serial child predator”, taught at its middle school, where pupils are aged 10-14, for a decade until 2002.

The FBI has appealed for help in identifying his victims after Vahey — who taught at schools across the world for decades — committed suicide last month when his employer discovered a thumb drive belonging to him containing graphic images of boys.

There have been no allegations that Vahey committed abuse at the Jakarta International School.

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Police have arrested two cleaners over the first alleged assault at the Jakarta school and have said they are investigating whether there were other victims.

One Indonesian child protection group has said it received reports of 3,000 cases of sexual abuse of minors in 2013, with 30 percent in schools.


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