Indonesian teacher sentenced to life in prison for raping 13 students

An Indonesian court on Tuesday sentenced a teacher to life in prison for the rape of 13 students, in a case that has drawn national attention to sexual abuse at religious boarding schools in the country.

The Bandung District Court in West Java found Herry Wirawan guilty of raping 13 female students, all underage, and impregnating at least eight of them.

During the trial, it was revealed that he had raped the children – many of whom came from poor families attending school on scholarships – for five years.

The pattern of abuse came to light when a student’s family reported Wirawan to police for raping and impregnating their teenage daughter last year.

The revelations sparked national outrage, with a senior government official saying President Joko Widodo paid close attention to the matter.

Wirawan, 36, arrived at court in handcuffs and kept his head bowed as Judge Yohannes Purnomo Suryo Adi sentenced him to life in prison.

He had asked the judge for clemency to allow him to raise his children.

The court also said restitution to the victims would be paid by the government.

More than 25,000 Islamic boarding schools – known as “pesantren” – are dotted across Indonesia, with nearly five million students living and studying in the dorms.

Education is often regulated – students attend regular classes during the day and pursue Koranic studies and Islamic teachings in the evenings.

The Bandung rape case has shed light on the problem of sexual abuse in schools, with 14 of the 18 cases reported to the National Child Protection Commission last year taking place in Poidsren.


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