ALBERTA

Neil Bantleman Sex Assault Trial: Calgary Co-workers Plan Vigil

01/12/2015 08:50 EST | Updated 03/14/2015 05:59 EDT
Friends and former co-workers of Neil Bantleman are organizing a vigil in his honour as the Canadian teacher remains jailed in Indonesia.

The Burlington, Ont., man, who has also worked as a teacher in Calgary, faces allegations he sexually assaulted a six-year-old boy and two other kindergarten-age children at the Jakarta International School where he was employed.       

Bantleman, who maintains he is innocent, has been behind bars in Indonesia since July facing up to 15 years in prison if convicted.    

"It's devastating. Neil is the kindest, sweetest person that you'll ever meet. There is not even a shred of a chance that he's guilty of this,” said Nancy McKellar, who worked with Bantleman at Webber Academy in Calgary for five years.

McKellar is helping organize the vigil, set for Wednesday, to show support and to urge Ottawa to publicly state its support for Bantleman.

"We know that they do behind the scenes, but we want it done publicly. We think that would bring more pressure to bear on the Indonesian government,” she said.

Bantleman's brother Guy Bantleman, who lives in the Greater Toronto Area, plans to take part in the vigil via Skype.

“It’s great to see obviously the ongoing support especially in a community and school that Neil taught at for several years,” he said.

“And really those are the sorts of things that are buoying his spirits these days as the trial continues.”

The vigil will be held Wednesday at 7 p.m. MT at Webber Academy at 1515 93 Street S.W. 

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