A British man has opened up in detail about the sexual abuse he had suffered at the hands of a Maltese priest, now deceased, at a local boarding school some 40 years ago.
The man was interviewed by The Sunday Times, who opted to keep his name, the late priest’s name and the school anonymous.
However, the level of detail he used clearly indicates that the abuse the man suffered remains very much fresh in his mind. Describing himself as a naughty boy who was often whipped for his antics, he said the abuse started when a particular priest once decided to strike him on his bare buttocks instead of the palm of his hand.
At one point, the priest entered the dorm at night and asked the interviewee and a friend to follow him to the school secretary’s office to help him rearrange some books.
“He was sitting at his desk. I stood a little way away but he told me to come closer as he wasn’t going to hurt me,” he said. “He asked me to read some passages from a book on his desk. I was nervous and struggled to read.”
“He put his hand at the base of my back and asked me to try again. While I was reading he moved his hand inside my pyjamas.”
“He then told me God will always forgive me, that I must not tell anyone about this and that I’d be one of his special boys. He even told me he would do the same to my brother and that God would punish me if I told anyone.”
“He then left the room and locked me in. He was gone for what seemed like hours but came back and gave me a packet of Bourbon biscuits, which were my favourite.”
A few months later, the priest invited him to be an altar boy during a Mess but caught him sipping the sacramental wine. Before celebrating Mass, he forced the boy to perform a sexual act on him, saying this was God forgiving him for drinking the wine.
The man said the abuse impacted him so heavily that he left school prematurely, and developed suicidal thoughts and erratic behaviour, which spilled into his teens and late 20s. After a spell in prison he started to get his life around and now has two children from two separate relationships.
Although he has reported the case to the police and the Curia’s Safeguarding Commission, he said he is after accountability and closure, not compensation. He was encouraged to speak out after advice from his psychiatrist and the recent conviction of
The 50-year-old Englishman kept his story a secret for many years. Now, however, his psychiatrist is recommending he seeks closure on the incidents that marred his childhood and deeply troubled his teenage and adult years.
Saying he was encouraged by the recent conviction of former Vatican treasurer Cardinal George Pell for child sex abuse.
Cover photo: The Curia in Floriana (Photo: Church in Malta)