Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Vatican official says it is Curia's responsibility to conclude investigation into alleged abuse

Vatican official says it is Curia's responsibility to conclude investigation into alleged abuse
Claudia Calleja

It was now the responsibility of the Archdiocese of Malta to conclude “in a timely manner” its investigation into the alleged abuse that took place in a Church orphanage 20 years ago, a top Vatican official said yesterday confirming that his own report into the case had been concluded.

Last June, Mgr Charles Scicluna, the Vatican’s Promoter of Justice in the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, held meetings with some of the eight men who seven years ago alleged they had been abused by priests in a home for boys in Sta Venera in the 1980s and 1990s.

His aim was to gather direct information to supplement the work being done on the case by the Curia in the hope that the full investigation would be concluded “expeditiously”.

The victims have in the past been severely critical of the length of time it has taken the Curiaappointed response team to conclude its investigation.

Yesterday, Lawrence Grech, one of the alleged victims, said he was disappointed that Mgr Scicluna had concluded his report before carrying out more interviews. He said the monsignor had told him he would be returning in August to continue interviewing abuse victims.

On Sunday, Mr Grech heard through other media that Mgr Scicluna’s report had been finalised.

“I feel I’ve lost control over the matter,” he said, adding he was particularly interested in the outcome of the pending court case against his alleged abusers. Three priests are undergoing court proceedings over the allegations.

Mgr Scicluna yesterday confirmed he had completed his report in July and said: “I invite and encourage all persons who did not manage to meet me to approach the (Maltese Curia’s) response team (that will continue with the investigations).”

He added: “The meetings I had in June and July were very useful and important. I would like to thank all the witnesses who chose to cooperate with my work.”

His work has now been referred to the secretary of the Congregation at the Vatican. A copy of the written record of the meetings was also given to the Archdiocese of Malta, which was furthering its investigation through the response team, he said.

“It is the responsibility of the Archdiocese to conclude the investigation in a timely manner, evaluate the findings in liaison with the religious superiors and refer the developments in the matter to the (Vatican’s) Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith for further instructions and closure,” Mgr Scicluna said.

Questions were sent to the Curia asking what the next step would be and to provide a timeframe. However, a spokesman replied that the Curia did not give information on individual cases.

He explained that according to general procedure the response team was to present its report to the Archbishop and the Major Superior, who would take a decision according to the team’s conclusions.

Where minors were concerned, if there was primafacie evidence that the alleged abuse had taken place, the case was then referred to the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith

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