More than two dozen children who were cared for at the Benih Kasih Orphanage in Buleleng have reportedly been returned to their respective families, following the arrest of a director at the orphanage, who allegedly sexually assaulted children at the group home for years.
“The children who are from Buleleng, of which there are 29 of them, have all been returned to their parents. While the children who are from outside of Bali, we have entrusted them to an orphanage in Seririt sub-district,” Gede Sandhiyasa, who heads the Social Services Agency in Buleleng, told Tribun-Bali yesterday.
He added that there were 33 children under the orphanage’s care.
In Indonesia, orphanages often take in not only orphans, but also children whose families are unable to provide them with proper care or schooling, usually due to financial constraints. Many of them still live with their biological parents as well.
Buleleng Police spokesman, I Gede Sumarjaya, confirmed to Detik this week that the arrested man, identified by his initials KP, was an orphanage director and a priest at Benih Kasih.
However, Sandhiyasa clarified that KP is not an orphanage director, but rather the director of Child Welfare Institution (LKSA), which operates under the auspices of the foundation that runs the orphanage.
After KP was arrested, the orphanage reportedly halted all activities and are closing its doors temporarily.
KP was arrested after an investigation by the Women and Child Protection Unit (PPA) revealed that he had sexually assaulted at least three children since 2011.
A total of 10 children had reportedly come forward as victims, and three of them were determined to have been victims of the alleged assault. They were identified by their initials S, R and N, who were 12, 14 and 16 years old respectively when they were first assaulted.
According to local media, KP was a legislative candidate from Hanura for the 2019 Regional Legislative Council (DPRD).
Under Indonesia’s Law on Child Protection, KP faces a maximum of 15 years in prison for his alleged crime.
Listen to headline news and insightful interviews on matters large and small from Southeast Asia and Hong Kong on The Coconuts Podcast!