‘My husband is accused raping young boys… but I am standing by him’: Wife of ‘paedophile’ teacher says he was betrayed by parents from her own nursery class
- Teaching assistant Neil Bantleman was accused of attacking a small boy
- Mother said he raped boy while a woman filmed the vile assault on camera
- But Bantleman’s wife says he is victim of vicious smear campaign
- She stands by him despite allegations and vows to see his name cleared
The wife of a teacher accused of raping young boys at a school in Indonesia says he was betrayed by the parents of students from her own nursery class.
Tracy Bantleman made headlines around the world this week when she was pictured reaching out to her husband Neil as he stood behind bars awaiting trial.
The 43-year-old, who teaches alongside her husband at the Jakarta International School, is adamant he is innocent but worries he will be convicted and sentenced to up to 15 years in jail because of the country’s high conviction rates.
She said: ‘My husband has a strong character but that doesn’t mean that on the inside this hasn’t been extremely demoralising for him.
‘Although he is optimistic [the case will be dropped] he is extremely fearful that the outcome could be very unfavourable because there is quite a high conviction rate in Indonesia for criminal cases.’
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Neil and Tracy Bantleman, pictured at a wedding in Scotland in July 2013, are staying together despite allegations he has abused a young boy at the Jakarta school where they both work
Tracy Bantleman visits her husband, Canadian teacher Neil Bantleman, right, at Cipinang Penitentiary Institution in Jakarta on December 5
Tracy Bantleman made headlines around the world this week when she was pictured reaching out to her husband Neil as he stood behind bars awaiting trial
Bantleman, 45, who was born in London and holds dual British and Canadian citizenship, and an Indonesian teaching assistant, deny raping and sexually abusing young boys.
The allegations are part of a wide-reaching case that has shook the prestigious school – which is attended by the children of foreign diplomats and Indonesia’s elite – to its core.
Earlier in the year five school cleaners were accused of raping a young boy and a woman was accused of being an accomplice.
One of the cleaners has since died in police custody. Officers say he committed suicide by drinking bathroom cleaner.
Bantleman and teaching assistant Ferdinand Tjiong, known as Ferdy, were later accused of sexually abusing the same boy on June 6 – the second from last day of school.
Recalling the moment they found out, Mrs Bantleman said: ‘Neil got a phone call from the head saying another parent had come forward alleging that he and Ferdy had abused this boy.
‘I looked at my husband and he was white. I remember clearly the first thing that came out of my mouth was, ‘how could someone be so inhumane to make allegations like that so recklessly and carelessly’.
‘I was furious because I knew this kind of allegation against a teacher is absolutely the worst allegation that could be made, and once it is made and it is public, your name is all over the place and you have no control over that.
‘There has never been a more challenging and emotionally frustrating and tumultuous time in my life. One allegation by one woman has destroyed so many people’s lives.
‘The amount of stress it has caused Neil and I as a family, and our families abroad, our friends, our colleagues, is enormous.
‘Everyone was shocked and appalled.
‘People who know Neil and know Ferdy, know these are two absolutely good-intentioned well-rounded, balanced, very kind and gentle, well-respected members of our school community.
Tracy Bantleman, visiting her husband yesterday, says he could not even pick the boys he is supposed to have abused out of a crowd
Neil and Tracy Bantleman, pictured here attending a friend’s wedding in Bali, Indonesia, are staying together despite allegations he raped and sexually abusing young boys at a Jakarta school attended by the children of foreign diplomats and Indonesia’s elite
Canadian teacher Neil Bantleman, right, kissed his wife Tracy prior to the start of his trial hearing at South Jakarta District Court in Jakarta, Indonesia, last week
‘Even our friends back home, our colleagues back in Canada, people we have met around the world, are shocked and appalled that these allegations have been brought forward.
‘These people know that Neil is innocent and know that Ferdy is innocent – and they know these allegations are ridiculous.’
Bantleman, who met his wife on a date in Calgary before marrying in Las Vegas in 2007, has so for spent more than three months in the notorious Cipinang Penitentiary Institution awaiting trial.
He sleeps on a bench in a 6ft by 15ft mosquito-infested cell, separated from the main population of the prison.
Mrs Bantleman hopes the case will be thrown out this coming Tuesday and says Bantleman’s legal team will argue that the accusations in the inditement are too vague.
‘They didn’t specify a date in any of the alleged assaults. There are no specific dates,’ she said.
‘It could have happened anywhere between January 2013 and March 2014 or sometime in 2013 or 2014 – at a time that could not precisely be remembered. That’s actually written in the indictment.
‘So the fact the prosecutor has prepared the inditement without a date or a specific time is against Indonesian law. For someone to defend themselves they have to know when it is alleged to have happened.’
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 videotaped the attack.
The accusations have been especially difficult for Mrs Bantleman, as the alleged victims came from the nursery year groups she taught.
But she says she has never doubted her husband for an instance, describing them as a couple who do ‘everything together’.
She said: ‘My husband and Ferdy are named as having abused these boys that they don’t even know.
‘They couldn’t pick them out of a crowd.
Tracy Bantleman, pictured here visiting her husband yesterday, told MailOnline: ‘The amount of stress it has caused Neil and I as a family, and our families abroad, our friends, our colleagues, is enormous’
Canadian teacher Neil Bantleman, left, held hands with his wife Tracy prior to the start of his trial hearing at South Jakarta District Court in Jakarta, Indonesia, last week
Neil Bantleman, pictured left, faces up to 15 years in jail if he is found guilty of sexually abusing young boys at the school but his wife is standing by him
‘I taught kindergarten and before that early-childhood, so students between three and six-year-olds.
‘I was there all the time. I would walk past his office four times a day.
‘The building where the alleged crimes are alleged to have taken place is a massive aquarium and made of glass walls. There is not private space in that entire building.’
‘We are not the type of couple who do things separately. When we met we were both in our mid-thirties and were overjoyed to find each other. We have a very close relationship. There is nothing that would ever give me the opportunity to doubt, there is no doubt.’
The school has also backed Bantleman and Tjiong, with nearly 100 people turning up to support them on the first day of their trial, on Tuesday. Mrs Bantleman says it would have been even greater if it had not been a school day.
She said her husband has been an integral part of the local community and had invested in 15 local charities with the aim of inspiring young people.
But they are both now questioning whether they will stay in the south-east Asian country should the trial be dismissed.
‘He feels like he has given so much [to the community] and this is what he has got back in return. It just isn’t fair,’ added Mrs Bantleman, who said they had been hoping to start their own family soon.
‘Ideally, we would like to stay. We have had nothing but a fabulous experience in this country.
‘The people are very warm the culture is very rich. It’s a fascinating and diverse archipelago of islands. It’s an unbelievable country, that way.
‘But on the human side – one or two or three individuals have really made our life a horrific experience since June.’
Bantleman, from Burlington, Ontario, and Tjiong are accused of raping three young boys at the school, which teaches 2,400 students aged from three to 18 from about 60 countries.
The family of one nursery school boy are suing the school and seeking $125m in damages.
Bantleman’s family in Canada are also backing him have called on Canadian authorities to lobby on his behalf.
He is due back at South Jakarta District Court on Tuesday.
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2862077/My-husband-accused-raping-young-boys-standing-Wife-paedophile-teacher-says-betrayed-parents-nursery-class.html#ixzz3L4JTaS6F
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