An Indonesian school teacher was arrested this weekend on charges of molesting 18 of his school students, having reportedly made them swear to secrecy through the Islamic Holy Book.
Police in Malang regency, East Java, identified the suspect by his initials CH, accusing him of molesting 18 boys between grades seven and eight after summoning them to the school counseling office.
“In one month, at least one to three students became his molestation victims,” Malang Regency Police Chief Yade Setiawan Ujung told reporters on Saturday, as quoted by Detik.
Yade added that CH kept his students quiet was by forcing them to swear on the Quran that they would not tell anyone else.
“The suspect told the victims not to tell anybody by making them swear on the Quran,” he explained.
He also explained that CH initiated his molestation by telling the students he needed to measure their genitals and collect semen samples as research for his dissertations.
The abuse allegedly began back in August 2017 and took place as recently as October this year. Last week, police received a formal accusation against the man, leading to his arrest last Friday on charges of repeated child molestation under Indonesia’s Child Protection Law.
If found guilty, he could face up to 20 years in prison. There is also a possibility he may be subjected to chemical castration, the use of hormones to subdue and eliminate the libido of a sex offender.
Proposing legislation to chemically “castrate” sex offenders in 2015, Attorney General H.M. Prasetyo said cases of abuse had “reached extraordinary levels,” with a larger-scale analysis finding that the number of cases increased from 2,178 in 2011 to 5,066 cases in 2014. The legislation was passed in 2016, with President Joko Widodo optimistically declaring that it would “wipe out pedophilia.”
Despite being the world’s largest Islamic country, Indonesia has also long had a reputation as a safe haven for foreigners looking to engage in pedophilia or underage child abuse without risk of prosecution. In a 2006 report titled “A Paradise for Pedophiles,” The Sydney Morning Herald described the country as a nation that “turns a blind eye to pedophile activity.”