Everyday thousands of children are being sexually abused. You can stop the abuse of at least one child by simply praying. You can possibly stop the abuse of thousands of children by forwarding the link in First Time Visitor? by email, Twitter or Facebook to every Christian you know. Save a child or lots of children!!!! Do Something, please!

3:15 PM prayer in brief:
Pray for God to stop 1 child from being molested today.
Pray for God to stop 1 child molestation happening now.
Pray for God to rescue 1 child from sexual slavery.
Pray for God to save 1 girl from genital circumcision.
Pray for God to stop 1 girl from becoming a child-bride.
If you have the faith pray for 100 children rather than one.
Give Thanks. There is more to this prayer here

Please note: All my writings and comments appear in bold italics in this colour

Tuesday, 23 December 2014

Neil Bantleman "Very Fearful for the Eventual Outcome" of Child Sex Abuse Trial in Jakarta

Canadian teacher Neil Bantleman is exhausted and emotionally shattered after spending 11 hours in an Indonesian court on Tuesday, his wife said.

Neil Bantleman - "very fearful for the eventual outcome."
The Burlington, Ont., man, who had also worked as a teacher in Calgary, faces allegations that he sexually assaulted a six-year-old boy and two other kindergarten-age children at the Jakarta International School where he worked. Teaching assistant Ferdinand Tijong is also on trial for the same charges. 

Neither man has entered a plea, but both have maintained their innocence.

Tracy Bantleman, the wife of the accused, is in Jakarta and said the trial started at 8:30 a.m. local time and adjourned around 7:30 p.m. Today is the first time testimony has been heard at the trial.

Neil and Tracey stealing a kiss
The court heard from the six-year-old boy at the centre of the case. The child was supposed to appear by teleconference, but after technical difficulties in the courtroom, the boy covered his face with a mask and was escorted into the courtroom by his father.

Neil Bantleman was kept out of the court as the boy spoke. When he was allowed to return, the judge asked him what he thought of the boy's testimony, to which he replied he couldn't comment because he didn't hear it.

"That was very frustrating for him," his wife said.

The accused man was allowed to stay in the courtroom as the boy's mother testified.

According to emailed comments from Bantleman’s lawyer, Patra M. Zen, the child’s testimony cannot be used as evidence under Indonesia’s criminal law, and the other evidence his family presented was flimsy.

Zen said during questioning, the child often answered, “I don’t remember” or “I forget.”

Neil Bantleman speaks with a translator during his hearing on Dec. 16, 2014.
Zen also said that it was impossible for the child’s parents to not know about a potential sexual assault, given the mother frequently volunteered at the school and the father picked the boy up after class,

The only way they wouldn’t have known, Zen said, was that “there was no sodomy” or “this is a fabricated story.”

Neil Bantleman's legal team maintains there's been no physical evidence of sexual assault put before the court.

The lack of evidence prompted a warning Tuesday from the U.S. government. 

Robert Blake, the U.S. ambassador to Indonesia told the Wall Street Journal, "The outcome of these cases and what it reveals about the rule of law in Indonesia will have a significant impact on Indonesia’s reputation abroad."

The Journal called Blake's statement “unusually direct diplomatic language.”

The U.S. Embassy is a founding member of the Jakarta International School.

Guy Bantleman, Neil's brother, said he was encouraged to hear about the U.S. statement.

"That was totally out of left field," he said. "I think that was a fairly strong statement and a very dramatic position." 

Guy Bantleman said he hopes to share the U.S. statement with Canadian officials, who he has asked to call for transparency in the Indonesian legal process.

Only silence from the Canadian government

The Canadian government has been repeatedly asked to intervene, but has declined. The government said it's providing consular assistance to Neil Bantleman.

Tuesday was the first day of major arguments in the case. Bantleman had been in court earlier this month to ask that the case be thrown out, but the court denied his application. Bantleman is expected to appear again in court next Tuesday. The trial is expected to take up to three months.

Janitors sentenced

Bantleman, who remains employed and backed by Jakarta International School administrators, has been detained since mid-July. Around 100 teachers and parents from the school community came to court to show their support.

The Jakarta International School is attended by children of foreign diplomats, expatriates and Indonesia's elite. It has 2,400 students aged three to 18 from about 60 countries.

Monday's sentencing of five janitors from the school doesn't bode well for Bantleman's case, his brother said, though according to Tracy Bantleman her husband has a different set of judges.

The four men and one woman were given sentences of up to eight years in prison after they were found guilty of sexual assault on the same six-year-old boy. 

The only woman involved in the case received seven years for being an accomplice.

The janitors were arrested in April and went to trial before Bantleman, in almost a preview of the case against the Canadian teacher.

Lawyers for the janitors argued in court that the evidence was weak, noting medical reports found the boy had no major injuries or abnormalities. They also complained that confessions given by the janitors were obtained through police torture, and were later recanted.

Prosecutors said the boy had been sodomized up to 13 times.

Neil Bantleman's trial could take up to three months. His wife said he is "very fearful for the eventual outcome."