May 22, 2006

Under lock and key – the Church’s sex abuse investigations

Malta Today

Matthew Vella

The Church’s investigations into sexual abuse by priests are destined to gather dust in the curial secret archives unless civil authorities intervene to unlock the information on cases of sexual abuse which were never reported to the police.
Police will not act upon “rumours or public information” with respect to investigations by the Curia Response Team on priests accused of sexual abuse, unless victims take their case straight to the police.
A spokesperson for the ministry of justice and home affairs told MaltaToday the police are empowered to act on “reports, information and complaints”. The ministry did not answer as to whether the police have ever demanded information from the Curia on its investigations into sex abuse by priests.
But despite media reports on the Curia Response Team’s handling of sex abuse cases in the church, the police will still not take action on anonymous reports or information unless these are flagrant offences.
In January 2006, a Nadur priest fled from Gozo to the United States after complaints of alleged child sex abuse by the priest were referred to the Curia for investigation. Nadur archpriest Mgr Salvu Muscat had confirmed he referred complaints to the Curia from parents whose children they claimed had been sexually abused by the priest.

Posted by kshaw at May 22, 2006 08:28 PM