At least 14 elementary school students in West Belitung Regency in the Bangka Belitung province were allegedly sexually harassed by their school guard, the Child Protection Agency (LPA) office in East Belitung revealed.
LPA officials found out about the incident after they held an advocacy activity at the school, located in the Kelapa Kampit district, last week.
One of the victims reported about the "indecent incident" that had happened to them, Imelda Handayani, who heads the local LPA office, said.
The school guard has been identified as RB, 65, who allegedly gropes the students' breasts while checking their body temperature before allowing them entry to the school grounds.
"After investigating, we found out that there were 14 students [that were victims of sexual harassment], so this is a serious concern. We also talked to their families," Imelda said.
The victims range from grade four to six, Imelda added.
She expressed hopes that authorities can investigate the case immediately without waiting for the victims to file their report as it is not a delik aduan – or a category of offense that cannot be prosecuted without a complaint filed by the victim.
Taufik Noor Isya, head of East Belitung Police, said today that they are currently looking into the case.
Nahar, the Deputy for Child Protection at the Women's Empowerment and Child Protection Ministry (PPPA), strongly condemned the sexual harassment at the East Belitung elementary school and demanded for the suspect to be punished accordingly.
Nahar also insisted that the victims receive counseling for trauma.
"We regret that at the beginning [of the case's revelation], a number of the students' parents and the school thought the matter was solved and had forgiven the perpetrator, making it difficult [for authorities] to extract information," Nahar said in a statement.
If convicted, RB may face a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison and additional sentences due to his status as educational staff, including having his identity announced to the public.