Indonesian Serial Rapist Principal Sentenced to Life in Prison

An Indonesian court on Tuesday handed an Islamic boarding school principal a life sentence for raping at least 13 students over five years and impregnating some of them.

The principal of the girls’ school in West Java’s Bandung city, Herry Wirawan, 36, pleaded guilty and apologized to his victims and their families during the trial.

“The defendant deliberately committed violence and obscene acts,” Presiding Judge Yohannes Purnomo Suryo Ali said. “Instead of educating his students, he resorted to violence or threats of violence to force children to have sexual intercourse with him.”

The judges also ruled that nine children born to the victims should be handed over to the Children and Women Protection Agency with periodic evaluation “until the victims are mentally ready to care for their children, and the situation allows for their children to be returned to the victims.”

Wirawan had impregnated at least eight of the 13 children, aged 11 – 14 between 2016 and 2021, at the boarding school he ran.

Wirawan was charged for deliberately exploiting vulnerable children from low socio-economic backgrounds as many of his victims attended the boarding school on scholarships. 

Elizabeth Ghozali, a lecturer in criminal law at Santo Thomas Catholic University in Medan, said that Wirawan had reportedly solicited donations from the public to support the Islamic boarding school, which added another layer of complexity to his crimes.

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