Burlington man faces 40 more days in Indonesian jail
Neil Bantleman was arrested in a child sexual assault probe, but hasn't been charged
Neil Bantleman, the Burlington, Ont., man who was arrested in Indonesia on allegations of child sexual assault, is facing another 40 days behind bars.
A learning coordinator at the Jakarta International School, Bantleman was arrested in connection with allegations that some kindergarten students at the institution were sexually assaulted.
Police arrested the 45-year-old teacher on July 14, but haven’t charged him with any crime.
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Bantleman’s brother Guy spoke with CBC News on Sunday and said that Indonesian officials told the family that it may be more than a month until the Burlington teacher is released.
"The information we're getting out at this point is that my brother was advised on Saturday, so Day 20, that his detention would be extended for another up to 40 days,” Guy said.
“We're also learning that the police chief in Jakarta is pushing his investigative team to complete their review and forward all material and any supposed evidence on to the prosecution's office. We have to wait that process out. "
'Intensify our efforts'
The family has been working with the Canadian government’s Department of Foreign Affairs to try to win Bantleman’s release.
And at this point, we need to get the government and various ministries here more involved to push through.—Guy Bantleman
“We're going to intensify our efforts, specifically with the Canadian government in Canada,” Guy said. “Diplomatic services has done a good job of supporting Neil in Indonesia. And at this point, we need to get the government and various ministries here more involved to push through."
Bantleman's arrest stemmed from a Jakarta police investigation into the alleged sexual assault of three kindergarten students at the school, local media reports said. He was detained along with teaching assistant Ferdinand Tjiong, who is Indonesian.
The Jakarta Post newspaper reported that six outsourced cleaners were arrested for allegedly raping a young boy in a school bathroom in March. Later on, the parents of two other students filed police reports claiming their sons were sexually assaulted by teachers. The newspaper also reported that one complainant, whose family is suing the school for US $125 million, implicated school teachers.
Bantleman's passport is being held by police and his home and office were searched.
Support from family, friends
Supporters in Canada have been rallying for Bantleman’s release since he was taken to police custody. Vigils were held in Ontario and Alberta this week to raise awareness about the family’s cause.
Earlier this week, Tracy Bantleman, Neil’s wife, told CBC Hamilton that her husband appeared “scared” and “fragile” when she’s visited him in jail.
She said her husband and Tijong shares a cell with five other inmates, most of whom say they don’t know why they are being held.
"They go to sleep, they're hopeful,” Tracy said. “They wake up and they're in a dark reality."
With files from The Canadian Press