“Victims of priest abuse ‘invited to go for help’” & related article

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Times of Malta (timesofmalta.com)

Wednesday, April 10, 2013 by

Juan Ameen

The Curia has denied a claim that it abandoned 11 victims of priest abuse, saying they had been contacted by the Missionary Society of St Paul and invited to approach it for help.

The MSSP, under whose care the men lived at St Joseph’s Home in Santa Venera about 20 years ago, contacted the victims in writing in October 2011, a spokesman for the Curia said.

This was immediately after the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith published its decision about their cases.

“In fact, a number of those involved approached the society and are still receiving help,” the spokesman added.

Lawrence Grech, one of the victims, had told The Times he had expected to be approached by the Therapeutic Evaluation Board, which was set up by the Church last October and tasked with directing victims of clerical sexual abuse to therapy. None of the 11 men had been approached, he claimed.

The spokesman said that the Church had “more than once” publicly invited past victims to come forward.

“The procedure is that once a case is concluded, the competent Church authorities inform the victim to approach the therapeutic board.”

The board is made up of a psychologist, psychiatrist and social worker. Its aim is to determine the therapy needed by the victims and refer them accordingly.

The bill for the services would be footed by the relevant ecclesiastical authority.

In 2011, Godwin Scerri, 75, and Charles Pulis, 64, both former members of the MSSP, were jailed for sexually abusing 11 boys in their care at Santa Venera many years earlier.

Last December, a month after the original court decision was confirmed, the victims filed an official letter demanding compensation from the Church authorities.

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Victims of priest abuse ‘have been abandoned’

Times of Malta (timesofmalta.com)

Tuesday, April 9, 2013 by

Claudia Calleja

Eleven men who were sexually abused by priests when they were boys have not heard from a thera­peutic board set up by the Church six months ago to help such victims.

Lawrence Grech, one of the victims, said he expected to be approached by the board set up for the very purpose of offering therapeutic help to abuse victims.

He added that “over the coming days” he and the other victims will be formally filing the court case against the Church requesting compensation for damages suffered at the hands of its priests.

In October, the Church announced the setting up of the Therapeutic Evaluation Board tasked with directing victims of sexual abuse by clerics to therapy.

The board, made up of a psychologist, a psychiatrist and a social worker, is to determine the sort of therapy needed by the victims and refer them to the people who can help.

The bill would then be footed by the relevant ecclesiastical authority.

“Since they announced the board, none of us has heard anything. They did not approach us.

“I would have expected otherwise,” said Mr Grech, who has taken on the role of spokesman for the victims.

Until last night, questions sent to the Curia asking why the board was not adopting an outreach approach, given its very nature, had not been answered.

In August 2011, Godwin Scerri, 75, and Charles Pulis, 64, both former members of the Missionary Society of St Paul, were sentenced to five and six years’ imprisonment respectively for sexually abusing 11 boys in their care at St Joseph Home in Sta Venera some 20 years earlier.

Last December, a month after the judgment was confirmed on appeal, the 11 victims filed an official letter demanding compensation after they alleged the authorities knew of the abuse and did nothing about it.

Mr Grech yesterday said the victims would soon be filing the official case before the First Hall of the Civil Court as the Church insisted it was not responsible.

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