Tista' taqra bil- Malti.
The Safeguarding Commission of the Archdiocese of Malta referred to the arraignment of a priest on Thursday. It issued a statement saying that it took the necessary action, without prejudice, to safeguard all parties and passed on the case to the Police to investigate.
The Commission stated that it follows the principle that every person is presumed innocent until proven guilty.
The priest claimed he had been blackmailed as he was charged with defiling a girl aged 15. Allegedly he was having a sexual relationship with the girl for the past four years, dating back to June 2017. At the time the girl was still 15.
The name of the priest cannot be published by court order.
The court heard how the woman, now aged 19, was referred to the Police by the Church’s Safeguarding Commission.
Defence lawyers Benjamin Valenzia and Steve Tonna Lowell claimed that their client was being blackmailed by the woman who was not allowing him to end the consensual relationship.
The court presided by Magistrate Josette Demicoli upheld a request for bail against a €1,000 deposit and a €7,000 personal guarantee.
Magistrate Demicoli also ordered the priest to stay away from all witnesses and a protection order was issued in favour of the alleged victim and her family.
In its statement, the Church Commission encouraged all those who know about any alleged abuse to report directly to the Police and to contact the Safeguarding Commission on email@example.com