Calgary teacher to stay in Indonesia prison over sexual assault claims
CALGARY- A former Calgary teacher who has been imprisoned in Indonesia has been ordered to remain behind bars for at least another 40 days.
Neil Bantleman taught at Webber Academy before moving to Asia to teach at the Jakarta International School. In mid-July, he was taken into custody after the family of a kindergarten student alleged the child was drugged and molested. A $125 million lawsuit was launched, and two additional alleged victims have come forward.
Cleaning staff were initially accused, but now Bantleman and a teacher’s aide are behind bars despite no charges being laid.
On Friday, Bantleman’s former employer Neil Webber confirmed reports that Jakarta police have extended the pair’s detention to give them more time to investigate.
Bantleman’s family, friends and former colleagues maintain his innocence, and a letter-writing campaign directed at Canada’s foreign affairs minister is underway.
“John Baird, the Minister of Foreign Affairs is on this case and will be making strong representation,” says Calgary MP Joan Crockatt. “I’ve called for him to be released immediately in the absence of any charges or evidence, and we are certainly hopeful that will occur with pressure.”
A number of candlelight vigils were also held on Thursday night in several Canadian cities, in support of Bantleman.