50-year-old Jan Jacobus Voogle, originally from Holland, has been sentenced to three years imprisonment and fined Rp. 60 million (US$6,000) for sexually molesting under-aged children. Presiding judge Sri Hariyani handed down the sentence on Tuesday, April 23, 2013, in a court session held in Singaraja, North Bali.
The verdict and sentencing session saw child rights protestors demanding a heavy sentence for Voogle. Meanwhile, other local residents, some of whom had originally given statements to the court incriminating Voogle but later withdrawn, came to the courthouse bearing posters demanding his acquittal.
In the end, the judges ruled against Voogle, accusing him of causing life-long trauma to the young girls he is said to have victimized.
The sentence of the court was less than the 4 years and Rp. 150 million fines sought by prosecutors.
After the court session ended, Voogle’s attorney Geoffrey Nanuliatta said his client was considering appealing the verdict, claiming that witnesses who had initially been pressured by police and child rights groups to bear witness against his client had all eventually recanted their statements.
According to The Bali Post, as Voogle left the court the villagers from Kaliasem, where the molestations supposedly occurred, greeted the man with tears and shouts of support. Local citizens told the press that the Dutchman had done nothing wrong and had, in fact, been very generous in helping the local community.
Back in his holding cell, Voogle told the press that he would definitely appeal the sentence handled down against him. He told the listening press that he had never committed the crime of which he was accused, challenging them to ask the children he had supposedly molested if they had actually been violated.
Outside the court children rights advocate Putu Anggreni complained the sentence of the court was too lenient.
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