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Sr. Comr. Rikwanto of Jakarta Police
Cleric Accused of Molesting 11 Boys Questioned by Police for Six Hours

in INDONESIA, 18/04/2012

A popular Muslim cleric was questioned by the police on Monday about claims by 11 young men that he molested them years ago.

Despite the serious nature of the allegations, the cleric, identified only as H., had ignored other police summons, saying his preaching schedule was too busy.

"He was questioned as a witness," Jakarta police spokesman Sr. Cmr. Rikwanto said. "After (his deposition) is crosschecked, the information will be analyzed."

Rikwanto said the police had already questioned the accusers and conducted psychological tests on seven who are still minors.

"The others were not tested because they are adults," he said. "We will then determine whether the accused really did what he is reported to have done."

Adj. Sr. Cor. Helmy Santika, who heads the general affairs directorate for the jakarta Police, said the cleric was cooperative and answered all of the police's questions.

"The questions were general in nature and not detailed around substance of the matter," Helmy said. he added that the cleric would be questioned again on Thursday.

H., who was accompanied by two lawyers, Hadi Sukrisno and Sandi Arifin, was questioned for more than six hours.

Eleven young men, now in their late teens or early 20s have reported the cleric for sexually abusing them when they were still minors.

The boys were allegedly given "healing treatments" that included touching.

Speaking to reporters after his questioning, H. said he would l;eave the matter to the law.

"For those who slandered us, may God give them success and guidance," he said.

Hadi, one of the lawyers, said that the questions asked were related to the deposition made by one of the plaintiffs.

The alleged offenses took place about eight years ago but were only recently reported. The 11 claim that H told them that he needed to touch them to remove evil spirits.

The Jakarta Police have been criticized for dragging their feet on the investigation, but have defended themselves by saying that the sensitive nature of the allegations required careful handling.

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