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Pedophile ex-diplomat jailed

Indonesia is changing quickly. I did not get around yet to write a full article about these changes, but as they are relevant, I include here a number of reports from other sources.

By Matthew Moore, Herald Correspondent in Karangasem, Bali
May 12, 2004

A former Australian diplomat was yesterday jailed for 13 years for having sex with two boys, sparking an eruption of applause and song in a Balinese court as he was sentenced.

As the chief judge of the Amlapura District Court, I Nyoman Sutama, read the sentence, William Stuart Brown, 52, trembled with rage, stamped his foot and yelled "bastards!" at the anti-child-sex campaigners and media who packed the court.

The sentence was two years short of the maximum available.

Judge Sutama said Brown was "legally and convincingly proven guilty of committing a continuous obscenity against children".

Brown, who worked for the AusAid office in the Australian embassy in Jakarta in the early 1980s, had admitted attempting to sodomise the two boys, aged 12 and 14. He appeared stunned at the severity of the sentence.

In the only other case of a foreigner being convicted of sexually abusing children in Bali, an Italian received a 10-month prison sentence in 2001 for similar offences.

The court also fined Brown $24,000 and confiscated his car, worth another $10,000, but returned a brown shirt that was used as evidence in the trial.

In handing down the decision, one of the three members of the bench, Judge Sahat Pardamean, said Brown had done damage to more than just the two boys, who sat in the gallery less than two metres behind Brown while the 2-hour judgement was read.

"The actions of the defendant damaged the image of Bali as a tourist destination and created an image of Bali as a haven for pedophiles," he said. "It damaged the futures of the victims . . . he was an ex-diplomat, a highly educated person. He's a teacher, he's supposed to set a good example."

Brown had been concerned for months that publicity about the activities of pedophiles in Bali earlier this year would see him punished harshly. When his trial began in March, he held a press conference in Karangasem jail to deny knowledge of pedophile rings in Bali and to play down the severity of his offences.

Professor Suryani, from the Committee Against Sexual Abuse, hailed the verdict as a breakthrough in efforts to combat child sex abuse in Bali although she denied her group's members who attended the court had swayed the judges.

"For us this is a big breakthrough. This is the first time the court has used the child protection laws [which provide a 15-year jail sentence] and I hope not only Bali but everywhere with children must use these laws."

Before the verdict, the father of one of the boys, Ida Made Buruan, said he hoped for the maximum penalty for Brown and said his son continued to suffer the effects of the assault.

Brown had admitted attempting to sodomise the two boys at an isolated beach in January, but insisted he stopped when they resisted. He also admitted taking about 20 young boys to the beach in a utility and to kissing and touching them.

His lawyer, Ketut Suwiga Arya Dauh, said he would consult with Brown before deciding whether to appeal the judgement.

Australian consular staff have been visiting Brown in prison and say he has been bored but was otherwise all right since his arrest in January.