Sexual Harassment in Manggarai Regency’s School: Komnas Perempuan Criticizes Articles Used by Police

This case was reported to the police in December, with the suspect being a Catholic subject teacher.

Police in Manggarai Regency on Island, East province said they would soon file tto the prosecutor's office court a sexual harassment case at a State Vocational High School [SMK] –the same level a public high school.

However, the National Commission on Violence against Women [] criticized the articles used by the police to charge the suspect.

Made Budiarsa, Manggarai Regency Police's spokesman told on June 22 that “currently the case is still in the process of being filed by investigators and will be sent to the Public Prosecutor.”

“[The case documents will be sent] Monday (June 26) or Tuesday at the latest,” he said.

The police began investigating this case in December last year after five female students complained that they were sexually harassed by , a Catholic subject teacher who was later dismissed by the school.

One of the students decided to file an official report, accompanied by her parents.

The Manggarai Police then named Melkior as suspect in February.

Komnas has its Comments

Budiarsa said they charged the Melkior with Article 5 of the 2020 Lawa No. 12 concerning Crimes of Sexual Violence, which carries a maximum penalty of 9 months in prison.

The article contains provisions relating to non-physical sexual harassment, which refers to “inappropriate statements, gestures or activities directed at sexuality with the aim of humiliating or humiliating.”

Theresia Sri Endas Iswarini, Komnas Perempuan commissioner riticized the use of the article.

She told Floresa that a more appropriate article was Article 6 letters a and b which regulate physical harassment, with the threat of imprisonment for a maximum of 4 years and a fine of Rp50 million and also 12 years and a fine of Rp300 million.

Theresia added that the police should also use the Child Protection Act which regulates the addition of a third of the sentence because the suspect is an educator who is supposed to protect students.

Police Explanation

In response to Komnas Perempuan, Made said that his office did not categorize the case as physical sexual harassment because it was not proven during the examination of the girl students.

 “[They] said that the perpetrator only said, ‘Do you want to be my wife,' ‘How many children do you want to be my wife,'” he said.

He said, this is also the reason for the Manggarai Police not using the Child Protection Act.

He claimed that the law was used if the sexual harassment committed was related to obscenity or intercourse.

“[In] this case the perpetrator did not touch the victim's genitals. [So] this case does not meet the elements of using the Child Protection Act,” he said.

What Did the Suspect Say?

Melkior was originally only called by the initials MS, including by Floresa. However, he later appeared in public on December 17 while trying to fight back the charges against him with  a counter report to the police.

However, it wasn't the female students he reported, but the principal who fired him. He accused the principal of being behind the students.

The accusation, he claimed, was to drop himself for being a key witness in the case of faking absenteeism being tried at the Ruteng District Court, where the defendant was the principal.

Speaking to Floresa on June 22 regarding the follow-up to this case, Melkior continued to deny it, calling the accusations against him “was reported by irresponsible people.”

He said, during three years of teaching at the school, “there was never any enmity with all students.”

“However, at the end of 2022 suddenly accused of such heinous acts,” he said.

He also admitted that he had met the student who complained about the case, facilitated by the police, in which several Counseling Guidance Teachers and from related agencies were also present.

“In my opinion, there were no victims, because everything was under normal circumstances,” he said.

“[If this was the case], what is the basis that I was accused of sexual harassment?”

The Female Students' Voices

Floresa had interviewed the victims case and accessed documents containing their testimonies, as well as confessions from Melkior before she was dismissed from her school.

From that document, it was actually recorded that 17 female students claimed to be victims, although only five of them formally reported to the police and one who later submitted an official report.

From their confessions, whose identities were kept secret for security and convenience considerations, various forms of alleged harassment by Melki were revealed.

Victim A admitted that every Melkior entered class he always pinched her cheeks and once hugged her when she was alone in class, while stroking his shoulders, nape to her neck.

While teaching, she said, Melkior also often explained things with pornographic nuances that were far from the theme of learning.

Even on one occasion, she said, Melkior explained husband and wife sex by giving the example of A as his wife.

Meanwhile, victim B admitted that she had been pulled by her clothes, then hugged from behind by Melkior.

She had reprimanded Melkior that such an action was “unnatural for a teacher to do to his student.”

Meanwhile, victim C said that she and her friends had been threatened by Melkior after they reported this case to the Counseling Teacher and the principal.

“He threatened , said he would report back to the police because we had no evidence,” said C.

“He also claims to be a journalist, he can write news. We got scared. If you see him, traumatized, “he added.

Information from the victims, there was a colleague of theirs who had been seduced and groped by Melkior's thighs.

The victim, they said, also admitted that Melkior had asked her to go out with him and become his wife.

This case was reported by several female students in October 2022 to the Counseling Guidance Teacher.

After undergoing an investigation involving the school leadership, Melkior made a statement on October 25, 2022, which confirmed his student's confession and promised not to repeat his actions.

He stated that he “would change attitudes and behavior” and was “ready to accept sanctions if this is violated.”

However, from the victim's confession, he again repeated his actions.

This led to the victims' efforts to report the matter back to school leadership on December 2, where they demanded that Melkior be dismissed. At that insistence, the principal dismissed him on December 5.

This is the first case sexual harassment at an educational institution in the Manggarai region that was reported to the police by the students themselves.

According to data from the Office of Women's Empowerment and Child Protection, during 2021-June 2022, there were 19 cases of sexual violence against children in Manggarai District.

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