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Shocking case of child sexual abuse unveiled in Parigi Moutong, Central Sulawesi

CENTRAL SULAWESI, INDONESIA — The community of Parigi Moutong (Parimo) in Central Sulawesi has been rocked by a disturbing incident involving cases of child sexual abuse.

A 15-year-old girl became the victim of heinous acts committed by 11 men, some of whom held positions of authority such as Brimob personnel (Mobile Brigade Corps) and the village head. The perpetrators enticed the victim with promises of money, clothes, and cell phones, exploiting her vulnerability.

During a press conference on 27 May, Parimo Police Chief AKBP Yudy Arto Wiyono revealed that the suspects employed a disturbing modus operandi.

They offered monetary incentives ranging from IDR 50,000 to IDR 500,000 before carrying out their depraved acts. Chief Wiyono further explained that the perpetrators also used food, clothing, and even gifted cell phones to entice the victim.

The police have currently identified 11 individuals as suspects in the case. Initially, the Brimob personnel was not named a suspect due to insufficient evidence, as the case primarily relied on the victim’s statement.

However, Central Sulawesi Regional Police Chief, Inspector General of Police Agus Nugroho, announced on 3 June that the Brimob member had finally been named a suspect based on the results of ongoing investigations.

The alleged series of rapes took place at various locations in Parimo between April 2022 and January 2023.

Shockingly, the perpetrators involved in this distressing case hail from various professional backgrounds, including Brimob personnel, village heads, teachers, entrepreneurs, farmers, students, and the unemployed.

Central Sulawesi Regional Police spokesperson Djoko Wienarto, in an interview with journalist Eddy Djunaedy from BBC News Indonesia, appealed for prayers to swiftly apprehend and process the suspects.

Wienarto urged the perpetrators to cooperate and take responsibility for their actions, in order to prevent further undesirable incidents fueled by the emotions of the victims’ families and the community.

Central Sulawesi Regional Police spokesperson Djoko Wienarto stated that there are allegations suggesting that the child victim may have been forcibly given drugs.

The suspects, who are known to each other, are also suspected of trading the victim for crystal methamphetamine and using sharp weapons to threaten her.

Meanwhile, the victim’s companion, Salma Masri, expressed grave concern about the deteriorating health condition of the child victim.

The severe infection in her reproductive organs has put her uterus at risk of removal. Masri emphasized that the psychological well-being of the victim has been profoundly affected, exacerbated by her deteriorating health.

Due to the child’s current condition, Patricia Z Yabi, Head of the Women’s Empowerment and Child Protection Service Unit (DP3A) in Central Sulawesi province, explained that a comprehensive assessment of the incident cannot be conducted at this time.

Yabi emphasized the need to prioritize the victim’s health, allowing her to provide clearer testimonies in the future.

Salma Masri further highlighted that victims of child sexual violence often hesitate to report the incidents, resulting in delayed disclosure.

In this case, in Parigi Moutong Regency, the child victim mustered the courage to disclose the incident only after experiencing pain in her reproductive organs and confiding in her father.

Both the victim’s assistant and the Head of the Office for Women’s Empowerment and Child Protection (DP3A) in Central Sulawesi Province urged the police to conduct a thorough investigation and apprehend all the perpetrators. They emphasized the importance of implementing appropriate legal measures as a deterrent to such crimes.

“We will monitor the investigator’s use of relevant articles, including those pertaining to the Law on Crimes of Sexual Violence. This law ensures the victim’s full recovery and addresses restitution or compensation for the victim’s ordeal following the rape incident,” said Salma Masri.

The victim’s father revealed that the perpetrator’s family had attempted to offer him peace and rewards, which he firmly refused. The perpetrator’s family, whose members were detained, approached the victim’s father in Poso and requested reconciliation and compensation, but he declined their offer.

“The victim’s father, as quoted by Kompas TV, stated, ‘Even though I only eat rice and salt, I don’t want to be regulated by peace’.” He also mentioned that the village head, who was named a suspect and detained, apologized via video call and expressed a desire to marry the victim.

The victim’s father firmly rejected this proposal, saying, “The village head said this, ‘let everyone do it. It will be my responsibility to marry their daughter,’ but I don’t want to.”

In Indonesia, the age of consent is 18 years. As the victim is still 16 years old, the perpetrators will face charges under Article 81, paragraph 2 of the Republic of Indonesia Law number 17 of 2016 concerning the Stipulation of a Government in Lieu of Law number 1 of 2016, which involves the second amendment to Law number 23 of 2002 concerning Child Protection. The minimum punishment for such crimes is 5 years, with a maximum of 15 years.

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