Depok case shines light on sexual abuse in Indonesian Catholic Church

Depok Indonesian Catholic Church

Title: Depok case shines light on sexual abuse in Indonesian Catholic Church

Authors: Tri Indah Oktavianti, Ivany Atina Arbi and Alya Nurbaiti

Publisher: The Jakarta Post

Date: 30JUN2020

A recently uncovered case of child sexual abuse at a Catholic church in Depok, West Java, has put a spotlight on sexual abuse in the wider Indonesian Catholic Church, causing adherents throughout the country to call for justice and reform.

On Sunday, the Catholic Women Human Rights Activists, a group made up of 194 Indonesian Catholic women, condemned the sexual assaults allegedly carried out by 42-year-old church caretaker Syahril Parlindungan Marbun, who has been accused of molesting at least 20 altar boys between the ages of 11 and 15 since 2012.

The group said one of the victim’s parents had reported the alleged assault to St. Herkulanus Church in 2014.

“However, at that time, the issue was solved through mediation by the church and the suspect was not removed from his position as the altar boys’ mentor but was instead promoted to head of the mentorship subsection,” the group said in a statement on Sunday.

The group called on the Diocese of Bogor and St. Herkulanus Church to establish a “safe place” maintained by a team of independent experts to manage and document the rehabilitation of victims and their families.

Other rights’ activists have said that the Depok case is only one of many sexual abuse cases in the Church, the majority of which have gone unreported because of a lack of support from church communities.

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