Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Canadian Teacher Detained in Jakarta Jail on Accusations of Child Sexual Assault

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Canadian Teacher Detained in Jakarta Jail on Accusations of Child Sexual Assault

Article excerpt

Canadian teacher detained in Indonesian jail

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The family of a Canadian teacher detained in an Indonesian jail on allegations of child sexual assault has been trying to enlist Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird to help win his release.

Neil Bantleman, 45, was working as a learning co-ordinator at the Jakarta International School, a prestigious school popular with expatriate families.

Bantleman's arrest stemmed from a Jakarta police investigation into the alleged sexual assault of three kindergarten students at the school, local media reports said. He was detained along with teaching assistant Ferdinand Tjiong, who is Indonesian.

The Jakarta Post reported that six outsourced cleaners were arrested for allegedly raping a young boy in a school bathroom in March. Later the parents of two other students filed police reports claiming their sons were sexually assaulted by teachers. The newspaper also reported that one complainant, whose family is suing the school for US $125 million, implicated school teachers.

Bantleman's brother Guy, speaking from his family's home base in Burlington, Ont., is heading efforts in Canada to raise awareness about the case, he said, adding that he has been in touch with Baird's office.

"This is about human rights," Guy Bantleman said. "(My brother) has always been the most honourable person you could meet."

He added that advocating for his brother's release is further complicated by the number of different international bodies involved.

"We are getting responses, it's never as fast as we want unfortunately," he said.

Neil Bantleman's passport is being held by police and his home and office were searched.

"They are co-operating. There is no story, there is no issue, there is no evidence," Guy Bantleman said, adding that Bantleman's wife Tracy, a fellow Jakarta International School teacher, is fighting for her husband's release.

Bantleman said his family was "stunned" at the allegations against his brother. …

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