indonesia

Frenchman Found Dead in Jail Cell After Allegedly Molesting As Many As 300 Indonesian Minors

The scale of the alleged abuse is a grim reminder of Indonesia's apparent inability to protect its children against sexual predators.
13 July 2020, 9:54pm
pedophile afp
A child pornography site busted by German police. Photo illustration: Arne Dedert/AFP

This article originally appeared on VICE Asia.

A 65-year-old Frenchman accused of molesting at least 17 children—and of possessing pornographic materials depicting more than 300—died on Sunday after being found strangled in his cell in an apparent suicide, Indonesian police announced.

A Jakarta police spokesman, Senior Police Commissioner Yusri Yunus, stated that François Abello Camille was found in his cell with a cable around his neck on Thursday night. He was immediately rushed to the National Police Hospital in Kramat Jati, East Jakarta for emergency care, but died after his condition worsened on Sunday.

Police acknowledged that the cable had been in Camille’s cell, but insisted it wasn’t within easy reach, saying it appeared Camille had climbed the bathroom wall to grab it.

“He was tall, so he could reach the cable,” Yunus told CNN Indonesia.

Dr. Umar Shahab, head of the Jakarta Police Health and Medicine Center, confirmed in a separate statement that Camille appeared to have died of suicide.

“The result showed a fractured cervical [vertebra],” Shahab told Detik, referring to bones found in the neck. “He lacked oxygen to the brain and vital organs.”

Last week, Jakarta Metropolitan Police raided the Prinsen Park Hotel in West Jakarta after receiving reports of alleged pedophilia involving a foreigner there. The police allegedly caught Camille molesting two girls in a hotel room that had been turned into a “photo studio.”

They seized 21 costumes, six memory cards, six cameras, a laptop, and sex toys during the raid. Police also allegedly found a collection of 305 illicit videos of children on his laptop.

The police have so far identified 17 victims, all of them minors.

“We’ve confirmed the identity of 17 victims, aged 13 to 17,” Jakarta Police Chief Inspector General Nana Sudjana told Detik. Authorities are still trying to confirm the exact number of victims, considering Camille had been visiting Indonesia for more than five years.

Posing as a photographer, Camille was accused of cruising for underage victims at shopping malls and on the streets, tricking them into modeling for his photo shoots. He was also accused of violently assaulting those who tried to escape.

Sudjana alleged that Camille had promised to pay his victims between IDR250,000 to IDR1 million (about $17 to $70) to have sex with them. He was charged under the children protection law and with rape, and was facing a possible death sentence if convicted.

The incidents came just days after news broke that a rape survivor was allegedly sexually assaulted by a child protection volunteer. The two cases served as a bleak indication of Indonesia’s inability to protect children from sexual predators.

According to the Indonesian Child Protection Commission (KPAI), there were at least 123 children who were victims of sexual violence at school in 2019. The perpetrators were mostly teachers, religious instructors, and school counselors. The cases occurred across the country, including in East Java, West Kalimantan, South Sulawesi, Maluku, Papua, and Aceh.

In one case in March, a teenage girl turned herself in after allegedly murdering her 5-year-old neighbor. She was believed to be suffering from mental health issues after having allegedly been raped countless times by her uncle and boyfriend.

The girl was found to be 14 weeks pregnant when she allegedly committed the crime.

The deputy chairman of the Bekasi City Child Protection Commission (KPAD), Rusham, said that stigma against sexual violence victims meant such cases were likely under-reported, leaving victims at risk of further violence.