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You have not got it yet : Justice a long time coming for Maltese clergy abuse victims


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You have not got it yet : Justice a long time coming for Maltese clergy abuse victims

Description: Seven years of agonising court proceedings since a group of former abused orphans found the communal courage to come forward wi

Keywords: MALTA

Category: 8

Body text:

Justice a long time coming for Maltese clergy abuse victims 

Seven years of agonising court proceedings since a group of former abused orphans found the communal courage to come forward with their claims of sexual abuse by members of the clergy, justice has been a long time coming, and there is still no end in sight to their ordeal.

They had first come forward with their stories in 2003 and a group of ten orphans who have had their complaints of sexual abuse at the hands of the clergy brought before the courts are still seeking the closure they so rightly deserve.

While the reporting of court hearings has been banned by the court, hearings, they say, would be farcical if the subject matter were not so serious. The case has so far been dragging on with little progress, with the defence being assisted by the country’s best criminal lawyers.

Much has been said of the case since their story made the media headlines once again since 2003 two Sundays ago in our sister paper. It started when Lawrence Grech wrote to the Vatican requesting a formal apology from the Pope when he visits Malta next weekend, and then went to leading Italian newspaper La Repubblica with his tale of seemingly endless court proceedings.

The ensuing coverage from all sections of the media in Malta and abroad apparently prompted the Bishops of Malta and Gozo to issue a general apology for abuses suffered and, following a press conference convened by the victims this week, a meeting with Archbishop Cremona was held on Tuesday.

The Malta Independent interviewed three of the abuse victims on the day of the bishops’ apology last week – a long meeting interspersed with tears and anger and even indignation at the content of and suspected motive behind the apology.

These three individuals – Lawrence Grech, Joseph Magro and another who preferred to remain anonymous – have overcome a seemingly insurmountable challenge of somehow coming to grips with what happened to them.

They have done what very few have been able to muster the courage to do, mainly out of compassion for others who they suspect could still be enduring abuse at the hands of the very same priests.

What they want is justice to be done, for the priests responsible to be kept away from boys and, most of all from their perspective what, they are looking for is closure after a lifetime of suffering that is still continuing. They are also hoping that, through their actions, others will be encouraged to come forward with their own experiences and seek peace and closure for themselves as well.

Financial compensation, they insist, is not the motive behind their going public. Closure is what they are looking for.

Some two decades since leaving the St Joseph orphanage in Sta Venera, their eyes still show the very real pain that resurfaces each time they think back to the abuse they endured in those dark days.

Others, they explain, have not been so lucky.



It started with a reunion
 
 
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