Religious Leader Arrested For Alleged Lewd Acts

Jakarta, Indonesia - The head of a religious group, accused of leading his followers to participate in orgies, was arrested on Thursday and could be charged with facilitating “lewd acts,” police said.

Agus Imam Solichin, the leader of Satria Paningit Weteng Buwono, turned himself in to South Jakarta Police on Thursday morning after eluding arrest for three days, Jakarta Police spokesman Zulkarnain said.

Police said Agus is now being investigated for his involvement in lewd acts after he allegedly forced one of the cult members to have sex with him.

One of Agus’s followers told police on Monday that the leader coerced her to give him a massage and touch his genitals. Zulkarnain said Agus denied he had sexually exploited one of his followers.

Under the Criminal Code, Agus could be charged with forcing others to engage in lewd behavior, which carries a maximum penalty of nine years in prison.

“He was arrested for the molestation accusation,” Zulkarnain said. “We haven’t concluded anything about any blasphemy or his group being a misguided cult. That’s not in our authority.”

Zulkarnain said the group’s activities, initiated by Agus in 2002, included bathing followers as a ritual meant to wash away sins.

He also claimed group orgies had taken place while other followers watched. Satria Piningit, located in South Jakarta’s Kebagusan area, had raised concern among local residents because it allegedly prohibited its followers from seeking medical treatment.

Zulkarnain said one of the followers had died last month of lung disease after Agus prevented her from getting medical help.

On Thursday, Attorney General Hendarman Supanji described Satria Paningit as misguided and said the group should be banned. “Satria Piningit should be classified as a criminal organization and be investigated,” he said.

Hendarman said the case would be handled by the Coordinating Body for Monitoring Mystical Beliefs in Society, or Bakorpakem.