A recently uncovered case of child sexual abuse at a Catholic church in Depok, West Java, has put a spotlight on sexual abuse in the wider Indonesian Catholic Church, causing adherents throughout the country to call for justice and reform.On Sunday, the Catholic Women Human Rights Activists, a group made up of 194 Indonesian Catholic women, condemned the sexual assaults allegedly carried out by 42-year-old church caretaker Syahril Parlindungan Marbun, who has been accused of molesting at least 20 altar boys between the ages of 11 and 15 since 2002.The group said one of the victim’s parents had reported the alleged assault to St. Herkulanus Church in 2014. “However, at that time, the issue was solved through mediation by the church and the suspect was not removed from his position as the altar boys’ mentor but was instead promoted to head of the mentorship subsection,” the group said in a statement on Sunday.The group called on the Diocese of Bogor and St. Herkulanus Church to establish a “safe place” maintained by a team of independent experts to manage and document the rehabilitation of victims and their families. When asked about the group’s statement, St. Herkulanus parish priest Yosef Sirilus Natet said he did not know whether a report was made in 2014.“I wasn’t in the parish during that time,” he said to The Jakarta Post. “I don’t know [what happened in 2014]. That is why I think we should let the police investigate the matter.” Yosef himself, who was appointed to the parish earlier this year, is one of the priests who received a report about Syahril from one of the victims’ parents earlier this month and coordinated with the Bogor diocese and the KWI to report the case to law enforcement authorities.Other rights’ activists have said that the Depok case is only one of many sexual abuse cases in the Church, the majority of which have gone unreported because of a lack of support from church communities.Last year, weekly magazine Warta Minggu, published by the Tomang Roman Catholic parish in West Jakarta, reported that at least 56 people had been sexually abused in Catholic churches throughout the country.“We always face huge struggles against sexual abuse issues within the Church as not everyone seems to think of the matter as a crime against humanity,” Sister Eustochia Monika Nata of the Maumere Diocese in East Nusa Tenggara said at a virtual press conference on Sunday.“What makes it harder is that our activism is often seen as an action against fellow Catholics,” she added.Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) lawmaker Diah Pitaloka, who has long fought for stronger sexual violence laws in the country, said victims of sexual harassment or assault – particularly those who were assaulted by religious leaders – were usually silenced as cases could tarnish the reputation of religious leaders and church communities.”Sexual harassment cases within religious communities are abundant in number, but only a few of them are reported. We need strong will from the community to change this condition,” Diah said, encouraging more parties to push for the passage of a sexual violence bill that sided with victims.Human rights activist Valentina Sagala echoed Diah’s statement that reported sexual assaults were only the tip of the iceberg. Many victims, she said, were reluctant to speak up because of the absence of regulations.”We need at least three things to encourage them to speak up: first, clear anti-sexual violence laws; second, reporting mechanisms for victims; and [third,] campaigns against sexual violence,” she said.The Catholic Women Human Rights Activists have urged the Indonesian Bishops’ Conference (KWI) to establish sexual abuse prevention protocols for women and children.Maria Cherry, a St. Herkulanus Church parishioner, called on the church to create strict rules to protect children from sexual abuse. “Sexual abuse in the Catholic Church has been consistently reported on worldwide. This is a real danger, and church law should address it thoroughly to protect children from sexual violence,” Maria said in a discussion on Friday. Indonesian Catholic Women (WKRI) chairwoman Justina Rostiawati, who also works with the KWI, said there had been an effort in the diocese and the church to deal with sexual abuse through open discussion. “[But] while some Catholic Orders have started to develop and implement sexual abuse prevention protocols against minors, it remains a challenge to create awareness among Catholic dioceses and parochial pastors,” she said during a virtual press conference on Sunday.Through his apostolic letter “Vos Estis Lux Mundi”, Pope Francis passed an ecclesiastical law requiring each diocese to create a system for reporting sexual abuse by June 2020.The Catholic Church in Indonesia, however, has yet to create such a system.Bogor Diocese judicial vicar Yohanes Driyanto said that setting up such a system was not easy as not many priests had mastered canon law. He added, however, that he was ready to be involved. “I’m ready to be a part of the group that will create the protocol,” he said.Gisella Tani, a member of the St. Aloysius Gonzaga Cijantung parish in East Jakarta, said that church laws against sexual abuse would assure victims that they would be well-received and protected and that their reports would be taken seriously.“It shows support and will help ease their psychological stress as a result of the incident,” she said, adding that the church should develop comprehensive sex and gender education to prevent sexual abuse.Editor’s note: This article has been updated with a statement from the St. Herkulanus parish about the 2014 report against Syahril. Topics :
“We have yet to find out [who started the riot] because most of the detainees were students or unemployed,” Yusri said on Saturday as quoted by kompas.com.Read also: Thousands stage rally against controversial bills currently under deliberationLabor groups, university students and other civil groups staged rallies in front of the House complex demanding that the legislative body stop deliberating the controversial omnibus bill on job creation, as well as revoke the Pancasila Ideology Guidelines (HIP) bill from the National Legislation Program (Prolegnas).The rally turned into a riot, however, after several protestors began throwing rocks at the police, who responded by shooting tear gas. Twenty people were arrested for allegedly inciting the riot.Yusri went on to say that the police had released the other 19 detainees on Saturday. They were questioned as witnesses and the police can summon them again at a later date, according to tempo.co. (dpk)Topics : The Jakarta Police has named one of 20 arrested protesters a suspect for reportedly inciting a riot during a protest against the omnibus bill on job creation in front of the House of Representatives complex in Senayan, Central Jakarta, on Thursday.Jakarta Police spokesperson Sr. Comr. Yusri Yunus said the suspect had allegedly thrown rocks at a police officer standing guard during the rally, without providing further details about the suspect.
More from news02:37Purchasers snap up every residence in the $40 million Siarn Palm Beach Northless than 1 hour ago02:37International architect Desmond Brooks selling luxury beach villa20 hours agoArtist impression of the proposed Gold Coast Art Gallery which will be built at the Gold Coast Cultural Precinct at Evandale.“Bundall touches a very wide area — it takes in the suburb of Bundall, Sorrento, properties near the racecourse, and then a large base of waterfront properties and that elevates the price point,” Mr Newlands said.It comes as property prices continue to climb less than 100 days out from the Commonwealth Games, with Willowvale and Currumbin Valley sitting in the $900,000 median house sale price bracket. Mr Newlands said lifestyle and location factors would help more suburbs crack the million-dollar mark in 2018.”Mermaid Waters is one — all of those suburbs that are centrally located, only a minute’s drive to the beach, close to shopping centres, boutique places and spots for families to take the children,” Mr Newlands said. Bundall’s median house sale price is now $1.05 million.As a whole, the Gold Coast also recorded a 7.7 per cent increase in median house sale prices of $630,000 while the median sale price of units increased by 4.2 per cent to $422,000.Main Beach is still the region’s most expensive suburb, but recorded a slight drop from $1.605 million to $1.520 million over just 12 house sales.Real estate agent Karen Stewart from McGrath Surfers Paradise, who has handled property sales in Bundall for the past 15 years, said the suburb had clawed back to triumph. Bundall resident Joanne Wheeler has listed her home for $1.49 million. Photo by Richard Gosling Aerial of Bundall business precinct.“Five years ago it was a really tough market, you had sellers that wanted to sell, but the market hadn’t caught up after the GFC,” Ms Stewart said.“It improved slowly over the last three years but really it’s the past 12 months where it has surpassed.”Ms Stewart reported a trend towards buyers snapping up then renovating or rebuilding older homes.“It’s so quiet and you’re out of the more transient suburbs but in 10 minutes you can be in places like Surfers Paradise and Broadbeach,” she said.“We’ve had a lot of interstate buyers, we’re finding a lot more sales are coming from out of town, but there still is a fifty-fifty ratio of local and visitor buyers.”REIQ Gold Cost zone chairman John Newlands said Bundall’s swift rise was partly due to its size. Joanne Wheeler is selling her Bundall home after 15 years. Photo by Richard GoslingBUNDALL is the latest suburb to join the elite million-dollar club on the Gold Coast, jumping to $1.055 million in the past 12 months.CoreLogic data shows the 7.7 per cent increase over 124 house sales pushed the central suburb into the exclusive price threshold shared by Mermaid Beach, Main Beach, Broadbeach Waters, Clear Island Waters, Paradise Point and Surfers Paradise. Mermaid Waters is on the up. An aerial view of The Lakes development back in 2015.Mermaid Waters was the third-highest moving suburb of 2017, recording a 17.2 per cent increase in median house prices to $881,000.“It’s all about demand, we’re starting to see a return of interstate investors from Sydney and Melbourne, so it’s starting to surge forward with a greater population wanting a waterfront lifestyle,” Mr Newlands said.According to Ms Stewart, Benowa Waters is also one to watch. “Benowa Waters has had a massive increase over the past 12 months due to the school catchment area being tightened up,” Ms Stewart said. The lake at Evandale Parklands, in Bundall. Photo: Kit Wise The waterfront home is described being ideal for entertaining.”Directly where I am it has remained very quiet and unspoilt, although a few blocks have now got duplexes on them,” Ms Wheeler said. “The area as a whole has changed dramatically, particularly with the cafe precinct and the development of the Gold Coast Arts Centre.” Before listing her property, Ms Wheeler, who recently retired, made significant renovations including a new pool setting, kitchen and staircase. “I finished up my work and it’s quite a large property, so I want to downsize, travel more and see family,” Ms Wheeler said. Ms Wheeler has enjoyed her central location. Photo by Richard Gosling“I always thought it was a bit unknown as a residential area, which is part of its appeal, and it’s remained so quiet,” Ms Wheeler said. “I’m not surprised at the current market really, but I am pretty happy.”Ms Wheeler, who moved from the UK to Australia 30 years ago, shared her home with her two grown-up children after being lured from Brisbane by the Gold Coast’s waterfront lifestyle. The property is recently renovated.Vendors cash in on Bundall boom Bundall homeowner Joanne Wheeler has listed her waterfront Daimler Drive property after 15 years and stands to sell for double the amount she paid for it. Ms Wheeler bought the five-bedroom, three-bathroom north east facing house in 2002 for $730,000 — it is now on the market for $1.49 million. The property is in the central Evandale Estate, close to the Gold Coast Turf Club, Chevron Island, and burgeoning Evandale Parklands.
“Getting a chance to compete at Super Nationals is a dream come true,” Gillmore said. Ryan Gillmore raced to his career-first IMCA Modified victory Saturday at his hometown Springfield Raceway. “Last week was the first time since early in the season that we ran the car and we finished second that night. I knew the car was capable of getting into the winner’s circle and we found a few things and made several changes,” he said. “The car was on a rail. Jerry had the track in great shape and two-three wide racing all night in all classes.” Gillmore, driving the Andrew Smith car that won on opening night, had made several changes to the car during the week after a seventh place finish last week. SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Hometown driver Ryan Gillmore charged early from his sixth starting spot and drove with ease to his first-ever Bad Boys Mowers IMCA Modified win Saturday before the capacity crowd at The Quick Quarter Springfield Raceway. Jody Tillman and Clay Hale completed the top five. The youngster wasted no time in working through traffic early in the 20-lap feature and then kicked it in gear to capture the win in a strong run. Gillmore was happy the race went almost caution-free as friend and hard charger Trevor Drake was starting to close ground along with James Thompson. Bobby Pearish retired after being involved in an incident early in the feature but it was Thompson who was making the most ground on the bottom but ran out of time. By Ronnie Williams Gillmore has been tabbed to compete in the IMCA Speedway Motors Super Nationals fueled by Casey’s in Smith’s no. 49. Smith, who has been suffering from back pain and undergoing treatment asked if he would be interested in driving the car this year at Boone.
RelatedPosts Tyson Fury to Anthony Joshua: Don’t risk fighting Usyk Anthony Joshua, Okolie plot world title double Anthony Joshua wants Tyson Fury, Wilder fight Anthony Joshua will demand the boxing world “bows down” to him if he wins back his world titles.The former heavyweight champion has the chance to exert revenge on Andy Ruiz Jr when the rivals clash for a second time next month.Ruiz Jr pulled off one of the biggest shocks in boxing history in June when he knocked Joshua down four times before stopping him in the seventh round.The pair will meet again in two weeks time in the Saudi Arabian desert, and Joshua told Sky Sports: “They think he’s so great, so when I beat him I want everybody to bow to my feet and tell me how great I am.“You saw me in the ring [before the fight] – I wasn’t fighting King Kong, was I? [I didn’t have] that mindset.“Apparently I’m fighting the quickest hands and the best fighter in the division. So once I beat him I want everybody to bow to me.”Ruiz accepted the first fight at six weeks notice after replacing drug cheat Jarrell Miller.Joshua was unable to adjust his training camp in time but insists this time his preparation has been on point.He said: “Take competition away from being humble. Being humble is about me respecting you as a person, or respecting a lady on a bus by standing up and giving her my seat. That’s humble.“When you talk about competition, people understand and respect that you have to carry a sense of fire in your belly. It’s not arrogance, it’s confidence.“I’m confident that I know what I need to do now, and I’ve prepared to the best of my capability to go out and perform. Performance leads to the win.” Tags: Anthony Joshua
RelatedPosts Nigeria dying under Buhari’s jackboot, by Tunde Odesola Nigeria: We can’t breathe, by Gabriel Agbo Yes, Nigeria is collapsing forward, by Femi Adesina Nigeria’s Super Falcons moved up one spot from 39th to 38th in the latest FIFA Women’s World Ranking. The ranking was published on FIFA’s official website on Friday. In Africa, the Falcons, who are Africa Cup of Nations champions, remain number one. Indomitable Lionesses of Cameroon dropped two spots from 49th to 51st and are second in Africa. In third position is Bayana Bayana of South Africa, who are 53rd in the world, while Ghana’s Black Queens remain 60th and fourth in Africa. At the very top, USA’s (1st, unchanged) long reign continues after the world champions lifted the SheBelieves Cup on home soil. But Germany (2nd, unchanged) at least narrowed the gap after impressing at the Algarve Cup, gaining 12 Ranking points – more than any other top-10 team in this edition. The global order also welcomed its newest addition, with Gambia (113th) increasing the number of teams ranked to 159 – the second-highest number on record. The next FIFA Women’s World Ranking will be published on June 26, 2020.Tags: FIFAFOOTBALLNigeriaSuper FalconsWomen’s footballWorld Ranking
Jason Puncheon slotted home after just seven minutes and it was 2-0 after Rickie Lambert’s fierce drive squirmed through Hart’s grasp, allowing Steven Davis to bundle home. Edin Dzeko reduced the deficit as half-time approached but Barry then passed into his own goal unchallenged to put Saints on course for a first win since Mauricio Pochettino replaced Nigel Adkins at the helm. Saints dominated the proceedings early on and, after Barry was dispossessed, Puncheon burst down the right flank and played through the unmarked Jay Rodriguez. Hart managed to deny the winger but the ball fell kindly for Puncheon, who slotted home calmly in front of the Northam End. City were struggling to deal with Southampton’s attacking intent in an opening 15 minutes in which a tame Sergio Aguero effort was all they had to show for their efforts. They eventually began to settle but were soon rocked by a second Southampton goal in the 22nd minute. Lambert collected the ball on the right and played a neat one-two with Puncheon, before cutting back and firing a shot that Hart let slip through from his midriff, allowing Davis to poke home. Pablo Zabaleta floated ball to the back post just evaded Aguero as City looked for a goal, which came six minutes before half-time. Dzeko got himself in the way of terrible Saints corner, before bursting up the field and tucking home a Zabaleta cross. It was harsh on the hosts, who felt hard done by in stoppage-time when Rodriguez was brought to ground in the area by Yaya Toure, captaining the side on his return from the African Nations Cup. Referee Martin Atkinson awarded a corner instead of a spot-kick much to the home fans’ frustrations – but they were celebrating soon after the restart. After Puncheon hammered over moments into the second half, the winger could then not quite latch onto a Lambert pullback, which Barry inexplicably passed into his own goal. Inexplicable mistakes by Joe Hart and Gareth Barry gave Manchester City’s Barclays Premier League title hopes a potentially decisive blow as Southampton secured a 3-1 win at St Mary’s. Press Association
There is growing concern among some figures both inside and outside the FA at the lack of formal action taken by the Premier League. Sports minister Helen Grant has already branded the content of Scudamore’s emails “completely unacceptable” while Labour’s shadow sports minister Clive Efford has written to both the FA and Premier League asking why Scudamore has not faced action. Scudamore’s emails were seen by a former temporary PA who leaked them to the Sunday Mirror. As well as some sexual innuendoes, the email exchanges also made sexist jokes about “female irrationality”. In a statement Scudamore said the exchanges were “private emails exchanged between colleagues and friends of many years” that should not have been accessed by the temporary employee, but accepted they were inappropriate and added: “It was an error of judgement that I will not make again.” It is understood that the case will go before the Premier League’s audit and remuneration committee, chaired by Chelsea chairman Bruce Buck, next week. The Premier League said a formal process was currently under way dealing with Scudamore’s emails. A statement said: “The governance and board procedure is being followed with the matter being reported immediately to the acting non-executive chair of the board, the chair of the audit and remuneration committee and the shareholders, who are the principal decision-making authority of the Premier League and to whom the chief executive is ultimately responsible.” Rabbatts said the Premier League had been asked to respond on the issue. Rabbatts told Press Association Sport: “As has been made clear in the letters from the chairman and general secretary, our view is these comments were totally inappropriate and unacceptable. “We have convened a special meeting of the IAB from next Tuesday and we have asked the Premier League to respond on this matter, and we look forward to hearing from them before that meeting on the positive and concrete steps that they will take.” Rabbatts confirmed Scudamore had not been in breach of FA rules. She added: “The FA has looked into the issue of whether it is a breach of FA rules and this is not the case, but it is firmly a matter for the Premier League. “Clearly, it’s important for the IAB to discuss this matter as it has a remit to fight discrimination across the game.” The pressure on Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore over sexist emails has intensified after Football Association chairman Greg Dyke described the remarks as “totally inappropriate”. Scudamore has apologised for the emails, which were sent privately to a lawyer friend but were published in a Sunday newspaper. In a response to Edward Lord, a member of the FA’s Inclusion Advisory Board (IAB), which has been copied to acting Premier League chairman Peter McCormick, Dyke makes clear his view of Scudamore’s remarks. Press Association He also explains why the FA decided not to take disciplinary action against Scudamore – Lord had suggested the 54-year-old Premier League chief should face action. Dyke says in the response, a copy of which has been seen by the Press Association: “In terms of FA disciplinary policy we, as the FA, could have considered taking action had Mr Scudamore’s statements been made in the public arena. “However our policy has always been that we do not consider something stated in a private email communication to amount to professional misconduct. “We do, however, consider the content of the emails to be totally inappropriate.” A special meeting of the IAB has been convened for next Tuesday by the board’s chair, the independent FA board member Heather Rabbatts, to discuss the Scudamore issue. Dyke’s comments go significantly further than the official FA statement issued on Monday, as does an email to staff from FA general secretary Alex Horne about the issue. Horne said: “It is important I communicate to all staff how disappointed all of us are in the tone and nature of the content of these emails which we believe is totally inappropriate. “Richard is not an employee of the FA and the matter is one for the Premier League to address considering their respective policies. The issue is something we will continue to monitor.”
Spurs knew three points would see them move into the Champions League places for the first time this season but Mauricio Pochettino’s men fell flat as Newcastle completed a second consecutive victory for the first time since November 2014, to follow up last weekend’s surprise win over Liverpool. Tottenham dictated possession early on but found Newcastle difficult to break down and they were grateful to Papiss Cisse in the opening five minutes when he blocked Siem De Jong’s goalbound shot. Otherwise, apart from referee Roger East tripping himself up, there was little for either side to cheer about and it took 36 minutes for Spurs to carve out their first real chance. Carroll’s clever ball through released Danny Rose, who cut back to Erik Lamela but the Argentinian’s bending finish was palmed wide by Rob Elliot. Elliot was called into action again two minutes later and again it was Lamela he denied, as the winger latched on to Harry Kane’s flicked header but saw his snap half-volley fly straight at the Newcastle goalkeeper. From the resulting corner, however, Spurs did break the deadlock as Fabricio Coloccini let Dier run free and the midfielder jumped above Moussa Sissoko at the near post to head home his third goal of the season. Suddenly Tottenham looked more threatening and they almost doubled their lead before half-time when Christian Eriksen’s shot fell fortuitously into the path of Rose – but his stinging drive evaded both the far post and Kane sliding in. The interval came at a good time for Newcastle, who stormed out of the blocks after the restart and should have equalised when Cisse was sent clear by Sissoko – but the striker dragged his finish wide. Spurs looked on course for another routine victory when Eric Dier headed home in the first half but two Newcastle substitutes turned the game on its head as first Aleksandar Mitrovic equalised with 16 minutes remaining before Perez completed the comeback in stoppage time. The defeat brings an end to Tottenham’s 14-match unbeaten run in the league while Newcastle climb out of the relegation zone into 15th. The visitors were faster on the ball than Tottenham and sharper in their pressing, and in the 73rd minute they deservedly found an equaliser when Chancel Mbemba’s header was poked in on the line by Mitrovic after Toby Alderweireld and Hugo Lloris failed to clear. Both sides pushed forward late on in search of a winner and Newcastle went close when Sissoko’s fizzing cross was almost converted by Mitrovic – but the forward was just unable to reach it. Spurs failed to heed the warnings and Perez made them pay when he sneaked inside Jan Vertonghen before half-volleying past Lloris at the near post. TWEET OF THE MATCH “Great three points. Thoroughly deserved after that second half performance!” – Alan Shearer, @alanshearer PLAYER RATINGS Tottenham Hugo Lloris: 5 Kyle Walker: 6 Toby Alderweireld: 6 Jan Vertonghen: 6 Danny Rose: 6 Eric Dier: 7 Tom Carroll: 6 Erik Lamela: 7 Dele Alli: 6 Christian Eriksen: 7 Harry Kane: 7 Subs Son Heung-min: 6 Nacer Chadli: 5 Newcastle Rob Elliot: 8 Daryl Janmaat: 7 Chancel Mbemba: 6 Fabricio Coloccini: 6 Paul Dummett: 6 Moussa Sissoko: 7 Vurnon Anita: 6 Jack Colback: 6 Georginio Wijnaldum: 7 Siem de Jong: 5 Papiss Cisse: 6 Subs Ayoze Perez: 8 Aleksandar Mitrovic: 8 Yoan Gouffran: 5 MAN OF THE MATCH Goalkeeper Rob Elliot kept the Magpies in the game in the first half with a number of important saves. Spurs had 11 shots on target during the first 45 minutes and Elliot did well to keep it goalless until the 39th minute. Elliot’s best save of the half came in the 36th minute when he managed to keep Erik Lamela’s curling shot out. Although he had a quieter second half, his 56th-minute save from Harry Kane kept his team in it and provided the platform for their comeback. MOMENT OF THE MATCH In the 44th minute, a Christian Eriksen shot deflected off Fabricio Coloccini to Danny Rose, whose low cross to Harry Kane was just too close to the goal for the striker to slide in and score. Had that been the second goal, any sort of comeback would have been beyond Newcastle. On such fine margins are many Premier League games decided. MOAN OF THE MATCH Referee Roger East was not happy when Tottenham’s Kyle Walker, who had been off for treatment after a 50-50 challenge with Newcastle left-back Paul Dummett, tried to come back into play and take the throw in. Walker was ready to throw the ball in when East blew his whistle and ran over to the 25-year-old defender only to tell him to put both feet on to the pitch so he could step back off the pitch to take the throw. VIEW FROM THE BENCH Mauricio Pochettino will be particularly frustrated at Spurs’ second half performance, but they have done little wrong so far this season and a rare defeat in an unpredictable division should not be held against him. The coming weeks should be interesting, however. How will Spurs respond, and how will he balance a squad he asks so much of during the busiest period of the season? Steve McClaren’s stock at Newcastle is at its highest since before the opening game of the season, with consecutive victories over Tottenham and Liverpool unquestionably impressive when he was under pressure. Magpies fans will hope he capitalises on this momentum and steers his team into the comfort of mid-table. WHO’S UP NEXT Southampton v Tottenham, Premier League, Saturday 19 December Newcastle v Aston Villa, Premier League, Saturday 19 December Newcastle substitute Ayoze Perez scored a dramatic injury-time winner as the Magpies came from behind to snatch a shock 2-1 victory against Tottenham. Press Association
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AFP) — At a training facility outside the Haitian capital, where young female football players are living under a coronavirus lockdown, the atmosphere is heavy, following allegations that the head of the sport’s national federation raped several teenage girls there.But at the academy—once a ranch owned by Haiti’s former strongman Jean-Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier — players and staff are largely on Yves Jean-Bart’s side, calling him a father figure.“President Jean-Bart is like a father to us all…he loves and respects everyone,” says Yvette Felix, a 38-year-old former national team captain who has worked as a coach since 2006.The claims stem from a report by The Guardian, in which the alleged victims and their relatives said the 73-year-old Jean-Bart had raped or sexually assaulted them over the past five years.Several alleged victims —who said they were pressured to keep quiet — told the British newspaper that at least two minors were forced to have abortions to cover up rapes.Haitian police have launched a probe into the allegations, first revealed late last month, and a judge has already summoned several federation employees to answer questions.Two women’s advocacy groups, SOFA and Kay Fanm, have issued a statement in support of the alleged victims.Nevertheless, at the Haitian Football Federation centre, which was founded after the devastating 2010 earthquake, multiple people told AFP they were shocked by the claims.“The president treats us like his own children. I don’t think that all that really happened. I don’t believe it,” said one 12-year-old female player, who has lived at the facility since December.In the wider sports community in the Port-au-Prince area, the view of Jean-Bart as a father figure spans generations.He has led the country’s football federation for two decades. His re-election in February for a sixth term was a mere formality. He ran unopposed.Reached by telephone, Jean-Bart categorically denied all allegations against him.“This is an insult to the nation,” he said, adding that he planned to file a complaint in Paris against the French journalist who co-wrote the Guardian piece.“He defamed our country. He left a stain on our flag. He insulted the girls.”Football is revered in Haiti, and has given the impoverished Caribbean nation a few moments in the international spotlight.For some, attacking Jean-Bart —often referred to by his nickname, “Dadou” — is akin to attacking the country as a whole.After the Guardian article was published, several players organised a protest at the training camp. Photos of them circulated on the Internet.“We made signs to say ‘Stop sullying our image, stop sullying the image of the nation’,” explained Kerly Theus, the 21-year-old goalkeeper for the women’s national team.