An Indonesian Islamic School Principal impregnated nine children while he was supposed to educate the students.
Now, he will remain behind bars for the rest of his life.
Recently, Bandung District Court judges sentenced Herry Wirawan to life in prison for the rape of 13 students aged between 11 and 16 years old. Wirawan pleaded guilty and was convicted of purposely committing violence and repeatedly forcing intercourse on more than one victim.
"I know most of them came from poor families in remote areas...unfortunately they are now carrying the burden of what happened," said 42-year-old housewife Dedeh Marlina who lived close to the school, reported CNN.
According to prosecutors, the defendant reportedly raped his students at various locations over a five-year span. Some incidents took place at the school, hotel rooms and rented apartments. The incidents involving the principal came to the attention of the Indonesian authorities after one of the students, while on holiday, told her parents she had given birth to a child.
As a result, the parents reported the encounter to the police, which uncovered 12 other rape victims.
Nine children were born due to the rapes. The case ignited public outcry in the country, which prompted authorities to defend why the atrocities went on for so long without any intervention. They said the victims had not reported the incident for fear of relieving the traumatic experiences and the damage to their parent’s reputation, who believed the school was training them in religious principles.
However, Indonesian authorities did not make the case public until November, when the court proceedings started. The police said the delay in publicizing the case was to avoid psychological and social damage to the victims.
“As a teacher and caretaker of the pesantren (Islamic boarding school), he should protect, guide, and educate the children who are studying and attending his school, but the defendant set a bad example and destroyed the future of the children of his pesantren,” said Presiding Chief Justice Yohanes Purnomo, according to Arab News.
Prosecutors sought the death penalty and the chemical castration of Wiraman. Under Indonesian law, which was passed in 2020, allowed the chemical castration of child offenders, despite the opposition of human rights activists. However, the judges denied the prosecutors’ request, citing the country’s criminal code. The law stipulates that people who are either sentenced to death or life in prison may not be subject to other punishments, except for the revocation of some rights,” said Purnomo, according to CBS News.
Also, the court ordered the Ministry of Women’s Empowerment and Child Protection to pay a combined 331 million rupiah ($23,200) to all the victims and $600 to $6,000 for medical and psychological treatments of each student.
The students were designated to the Children and Women Protection agency for periodic evaluation until the victims are mentally ready to take care of the children.
Wiraman’s defense lawyer, Ira Mambo said his client has not decided whether to appeal the sentence.