Trial underway for former Calgary teacher

Trial underway for former Calgary teacher

By Michael Franklin | CTV Calgary

A former Calgary teacher, accused of sexually assaulting a six-year-old at the school where he worked in Indonesia, appeared in court while a crowd outside called out for his freedom.

Neil Bantleman and a teaching assistant, Ferdinant Tjiong, have been held in an Indonesian jail since July, but both insist they are innocent of any crime.

Bantleman spoke from jail on Tuesday, thanking supporters, made up of teachers and parents, for continuing to stand behind them.

“I just want the truth to be told. It’s time for justice and to end corruption in this country,” he said in a video released to media. “We need all the international help and assistance that we can get.”

According to documents, the alleged victims told police that Bantleman raped them in a secret room in the basement of the school while a female principal videotaped the attack.

To date, police have not found any trace of a video or a secret room in the school.

Five janitors are also being tried over the same allegations. A sixth janitor has died in custody.

Guy Bantleman, Neil’s brother, says the defence team is trying to get the case thrown out.

He says the family shares concerns over whether or not the trial will be fair and transparent, but say that at least Neil has the chance to fight back.

Bantleman moved to Indonesia four years ago with his wife, who also teaches at the school.

He once taught at Webber Academy in Calgary before moving to his new position.

Both Bantleman and Tjiong could face up to 15 years in prison if convicted.

(With files from The Associated Press)

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