A high-ranking priest Gozitan priest has been suspended from priesthood after being accused of sexually abusing a former altar boy over 16 years ago. Eucharist Sultana, the former Archpriest of Xagħra, is now being investigated by the police, the Maltese Curia has confirmed.
Sultana spent years serving the Gozitan community, where he was seen as a community leader.
However, new allegations against the priest have been brought about by his former altar boy. It is unknown why the altar boy decided to come forward now, and many are wondering if he can even be prosecuted due to criminal cases involving the rape of minors being time-barred after 15 years.
Sultana allegedly groomed the young altar boy with gifts for sexual favours
The former Archpriest of Xagħra allegedly used gifts to befriend the boy who is from his parish.
He is alleged to have groomed a teenage boy with gifts in exchange of which he would summon the victim for sexual encounters. The abuse is believed to have ended when the victim was 17 years old, after four years.
ManuelDelia.com reported that has Sultana admitted to the allegations.
When Sultana was confronted in 2016, he allegedly asked a colleague to ensure his silence
Sultana was confronted by the accusation in 2016, when he allegedly told a Gozitan colleague to ensure the silence and try to find a way to mediate with the victim.
It was alleged that the meditator attempted to offer a financial payment to the victim to silence him, but this could not be independently verified by the media.
The abuse ended when the boy turned 17
However, in a 2015 article, Sultana was described as someone who regularly entertained altar boys.
“I remember the initiatives he used to take to entertain the altar boys and to teach them the Catholic principles,” said Kevin Cutajar in an article in the Times of Malta.
When Archbishop Charles Scicluna found out about the accusations, he suspended the priest
He received the allegations on the 29th of July, 2018, along with the Bishop of Gozo whereupon Sultana was “immediately suspended from all public ministry, without prejudice, pending any civil and canonical processes”.
He alerted the church’s independent safeguarding commission to begin investigating the “non-recent” allegations and assess “any possible wrongdoing by Church personnel, which will then recommend disciplinary measures”.
It was alleged that after 2016, Sultana spent time working lowkey at a Maltese orphanage
ManuelDelia.com reported that once the allegations were made against him, he was relocated to work in a Maltese orphanage run by the Church.