The Malta Independent 15 April 2021, Thursday

Sexual abuse by priest: Eight years before Curia Response Team is too long – Bishop Scicluna

Saturday, 1 November 2014, 10:21 Last update: about 7 years ago

Auxiliary Bishop Charles Scicluna said that having a case of alleged sexual abuse by a priest taking eight years or more before the Curia's Response Team without a decision being taken is way too long, both for the victims as well as the priests involved.

Speaking on Xarabank on Friday following the story published in The Malta Independent on Wednesday about Fr Charles Fenech - accused of sexually abusing a number of women - Mgr Scicluna said that there should be an effort for such cases to be resolved in a more expeditious way.

He said that he had learnt about the case via the media and said that it was a shock for him to hear that one of his colleagues was in such a predicament. He said that he had spoken to the acting commissioner of police about the case in the past days.

The name of the priest was not mentioned during the programme, with presenter Peppi Azzopardi referring only to "a priest" although the Dominican Priory, in a statement following the publication of the name by The Malta Independent, also named the priest involved.

Asked whether it is true, as reported by this newspaper, that one of the alleged victims was offered a six-figure sum to keep her mouth shut on the abuse, Mgr Scicluna said he was not aware of this but said that any offer to buy someone's silence is wrong.

He said that the Church is obliged to pass on information regarding alleged abuse by priests to the police, but it was not clear when this should be made. Whether the case should be passed on to the police once the Church hears about it, or during or after the investigation is still a matter that is not clear.

He said that it was also not right for Fr Fenech not to turn up in court on three successive occasions when he was summoned, saying that he should make the effort to face justice.

He also said that Mgr Paul Cremona did not resign from the post of Archbishop because of this case.

The Curia's response team is composed as follows: 

Archbishop’s Delegate

Dr Victor Caruana Colombo

Delegate Adjunct

Dr Franco Depasquale

Members

Mgr Joseph Bajada
Dr Roberta Attard

Secretary

Ms  Mariella Fenech Pace

 

 

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