Frenchman accused of molesting hundreds of kids in Indonesia kills himself

JAKARTA: A Frenchman accused of molesting more than 300 children in Indonesia has died from an apparent suicide, police said on Monday (Jul 13).

Francois Camille Abello, 65, was arrested last month at a hotel in Indonesia’s capital Jakarta. Police said he was with two underage girls in his room at the time of his arrest.

Police said they had found videos on Abello’s laptop which showed him engaging in illicit sexual acts with 305 children aged between 10 and 17.

Commissioner Yusri Yunus, spokesman for the Jakarta Police, said Abello hung himself using an electricity cable inside his cell on Thursday evening. Abello was still breathing when the guards found him and he was immediately rushed to the Sukamto Police Hospital in East Jakarta.

He was treated at the hospital for the next three days before succumbing to his injuries at 8pm on Sunday .

“We have questioned the guards and examined his cell as part of our inquiry (on how Abello died),” Mr Yunus said.

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The police spokesman said the cable was exposed but it was strung quite high up near the ceiling. “(Abello) was a tall man. He must have jumped to rip the cable off the wall,” he said.

Mr Yunus said Abello then used the loose end of the cable to hang himself.    

The French retiree was facing a series of criminal charges under Indonesia’s child protection laws and could face the death penalty if he had been convicted.  

Abello had entered the Southeast Asian nation on a tourist visa several times over the past five years, according to police.

He would approach children and lure them by offering them work as models before eventually assaulting them.

Police said Abello filmed the illicit encounters and beat those who refused to have sex with him.

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Only 19 victims have so far been identified, Mr Yunus said on Monday.

“Police investigators are having a hard time identifying all of the victims,” he said.  

Police are not ruling out the possibility that there may be more victims beyond those in the videos on Abello’s laptop.

As many as 70,000 children are victims of sexual exploitation annually in Indonesia, according to global anti-trafficking network ECPAT International.