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Catholic lay teacher in Indonesia suspected of sexually abusing students

Indonesian police presented the accused of molesting Seventh Elementary School (orange shirt) in the press release conference on April 17. (Photo credit: Ucanews-Ende Regency police)

A 26-year-old lay Catholic religion teacher in Indonesia was arrested following an accusation of sexually abusing seven elementary school students.

Reportedly teaching at Jopu II Catholic Elementary School in Wolowaru Subdistrict, East Nusa Tenggara province of the Country, the suspect admitted that his habit of watching porn has driven him to commit such crimes.

"The suspect's motive is to fulfill desire and lust because he always watches porn on his cell phone," explained Yance Kadiaman, head of Ende police's criminal investigation unit.

According to Kadaiman, the teacher, only identified as Charles, sexually abused minors, four are aged 12, and three are aged 11 years old. The first incident supposedly happened in a teacher’s room in November of last year.

The teacher was arrested on April 17 in Ende Regency on Flores Island in Christian-majority East Nusa Tenggara province.

The suspect could face a fine of 5,000,000,000 rupiahs (US$337,266) and a maximum of 20 years imprisonment.

At present, Indonesia is dealing with a worsening problem of increasing sexual abuse crimes committed by religious teachers in schools. 

At least ten cases of this nature involving 86 victims have been recorded so far in 2022, according to the Federation of Indonesian Teachers’ Union. In 2022, the federation revealed they recorded 17 cases of sexual abuse with 117 victims.

The National Council of Catholic Education expressed concern over these cases. The organization’s chairman, Fr. Vinsensius Darmin Mbula, is very much alarmed that religious teachers are the ones committing these heinous crimes.

"I hope the perpetrators face the maximum punishment so that it can be a deterrent to others," the Franciscan priest said.

Fr. Mbula also calls on Catholic schools to start formulating a protocol to regulate the prevention and handling of sexual violence cases. Furthermore, he encourages leaders of these educational institutions to design an in-depth screening process for teachers.


Radio Veritas Asia (RVA), a media platform of the Catholic Church, aims to share Christ. RVA started in 1969 as a continental Catholic radio station to serve Asian countries in their respective local language, thus earning the tag “the Voice of Asian Christianity.”  Responding to the emerging context, RVA embraced media platforms to connect with the global Asian audience via its 21 language websites and various social media platforms.