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Indonesian Pastor Gets Four Years For Molesting Refugee Children

Apr 30, 2002 | AP

A Christian pastor in Indonesia was sentenced to four years imprisonment for sexually abusing seven refugee children under his care, officials said Tuesday.

Saderah Sudiro, a Protestant clergyman with the Foundation For the Village Bible Society, was found guilty Monday of molesting refugee children ages 14 and 15 in his house in Solo in Central Java, said prosecutor Ika Ria Wati.

"For more than a year he abused the minors who sought refuge in his foundation," said Wati.

Sudiro, who could not be reached for comment, is under house arrest while he appeals the verdict, court officials said.

Revelations of pedophile priests have recently wracked the Roman Catholic Church in the United States, prompting a meeting of U.S. cardinals with Pope John Paul (news - web sites) II. A communique issued after the meeting recommended a "zero tolerance" policy toward sexually abusive priests.

Children from Indonesia's eastern islands of Maluku and Papua were sent to Sudiro's Foundation to escape religious and ethnic violence.

Thousands of refugees have fled their homes in the past three years following a wave of religious violence in the Maluku islands and separatist fighting in Irian Jaya.

The sentence was lighter than the five years sought by the prosecutors because it could not be proven that Sudiro raped the children. He was found instead to have fondled them.

Sudiro was charged after the parent of one of the young victims reported him to authorities in October.

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