The proprietor of an Islamic boarding faculty in Indonesia was convicted Tuesday of raping 13 of his underage college students — fathering 9 kids along with his victims — and was sentenced to life in jail.
A court docket within the metropolis of Bandung on the island of Java discovered Herry Wirawan, 36, responsible of raping the women, ages 11 to 16, repeatedly and systematically over a interval of 5 years.
The allegations towards Mr. Herry outraged Indonesians and centered nationwide consideration on the problem of baby safety at privately run spiritual faculties, which quantity within the tens of 1000’s. Officials mentioned President Joko Widodo had been following the case intently.
The three-judge panel determined towards imposing the dying penalty and chemical castration, because the prosecution had sought. President Joko signed a regulation in 2020 permitting for the chemical castration of convicted baby rapists.
Mr. Herry, who had taught Arabic at an elementary faculty, based the all-girl Madani Boarding School, or pesantren, in Bandung in 2016 and attracted college students from poor households by providing scholarships.
The rapes got here to mild final 12 months after one of the victims returned dwelling and her household found she was pregnant.
Eight of the women turned pregnant — one of them twice — and gave start to 9 kids. The infants have been delivered at a neighborhood clinic or the properties of midwives after which cared for by Mr. Herry’s mother and father and sisters, mentioned his legal professional, Ira Margaretha Mambo.
The oldest of the kids is just not but 5, she mentioned.
Mr. Herry pleaded with the court docket for leniency as the only supplier for his spouse and their two kids.
In their verdict, the judges concluded that Mr. Herry, who additionally taught faith on the faculty, had brainwashed the scholars so successfully that “they couldn’t even distinguish right from wrong.”
Mr. Herry groomed his victims, the court docket discovered, by isolating them from their households, making them rely upon him as their supplier and giving them safety and luxury.
“They are too young to understand the process of what they were getting,” the judges concluded. “The girls even seem to feel they owe him a debt of gratitude.”
In seducing the women, the judges mentioned, Mr. Herry would begin by asking for a therapeutic massage after which inform his sufferer that he couldn’t have intercourse along with his spouse as a result of she didn’t need to have many kids.
He additionally informed the women that their trainer have to be “obeyed and respected,” the judges discovered. If his victims resisted, he would tear off their garments.
When one scholar informed Mr. Herry she was pregnant, he informed her she didn’t want an abortion as a result of he would take accountability for the infant.
He promised different women that he would pay for their schooling and, in not less than one case, he informed a sufferer he would marry her.
The judges mentioned the life sentence was not supposed as revenge towards the defendant however was aimed toward defending the general public from comparable crimes sooner or later.
The case, which highlighted the widespread downside of sexual harassment and abuse of girls in Indonesia, has renewed calls for passage of laws aimed toward decreasing sexual violence and the harassment of girls. Women’s rights activists say that Indonesia’s current legal guidelines don’t adequately shield girls, and so they have pushed for almost a decade to win passage of the measure.
In 2019, a college bookkeeper who recorded her boss’s lewd telephone name as proof she was being harassed was ordered by Indonesia’s Supreme Court to serve not less than six months in jail for distributing obscene materials. Her boss, the varsity principal, went unpunished and as an alternative was promoted repeatedly. President Joko later granted her amnesty.