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Reports of Rape, Abuse Surface at a School in Jakarta



The reported rape of a six-year-old student at a well-know school in Jakarta has received widespread media attention in Indonesia. The costly Jakarta International School, or JSI, serves many children of diplomats and wealthy foreign families. Indonesian police have arrested several suspects in connection with the incident reported in early April.

Similar reports of sexual abuse at the school have followed. This week, another kindergarten student also said he was abused at the school. The education ministry ordered the kindergarten closed. The ministry said the school had been operating without permission. Tim Carr heads the Jakarta International School. He described the recent incident at the shool as an unimaginable tragedy. He said the school is taking all measured to prevent another.

Years ago, American investigators name a former JSI teacher as one of the worst child sex offenders ever identified. American William James Vahey worked at the school from 1992 until 2002. He killed himself last month after US federal investigators seized some of the computer records. The evidence include 90 photographs of boys Vahey reportedly abused.

The number of reported rapes is increasing in Indonesia. But the reports do not get a lot of public attention. Last year, the Indonesian Child Protection Commission declared child rape a "national emergency." But it said it does not have dependable numbers on rape. A large part of Indonesian society considers it offensive to talk about sexual abuse. Victims are often afraid to report such crimes. They fear it will dishonour their families.

For VOA Learning English, I'm Alex Villarreal.