Malta News Evening Roundup
Reading Time: 3 minutes

Good evening,

Apart from politics, Malta’s portals today give a series of stories which all concern forms of child sexual abuse and neglect.

All news portals carry the story of a 70-year-old man was jailed for three years on Sunday after he admitted to having sexually abused two 15-year-old boys, giving them money or food in exchange for oral sex. Police were put on John Zammit’s tracks by an anonymous tip-off and the accused subsequently admitted to the charges while being interrogated by police. Mr Zammit, a Valletta resident, worked part-time at a pastizzi shop, a court heard. The IndependentTVM and One leads with the story. The Times, Maltatoday, Newsbook and Net also carry the story prominently.

Eucharist Sultana a senior Gozitan cleric, now retired, has been suspended from the priesthood after allegations have emerged of sexual abuse of a minor over a four year period ending 16 years ago. In a story released through the blog ManuelDelia.comArchbishop Charles Scicluna was informed of the allegations of child abuse a few days ago and alerted the church’s independent safeguarding commission to evaluate the allegations. Eucharist Sultana was suspended from the priesthood, and the case was referred to the Police.

The Malta Independent carries a story as well, which is carried on today’s print version of the Malta Independent on Sunday, where the Safeguarding Commission said it is “grateful to victims who show great courage to speak out about the abuse.

“We encourage anyone who has knowledge of a crime to report directly to the Malta Police Force. “Anyone who has a concern about Church personnel can also contact the Safeguarding Commission on info@safeguarding.mt.”

Newsbook leads with the story of the speech delivered by Pope Francis, on Sunday, in Ireland where he asked for forgiveness to God for the abuses within the Catholic Church.

MaltaToday carries its print’s newspaper story in its portal where six children abandoned by next of kin after their father died were found living on their own in horrid conditions, MaltaToday has learnt. The children aged between five and 15 were living at the family home in central Malta, with the eldest sister acting as a mother to her siblings. The children were found living in poor and dirty conditions. Social workers have been working for the past weeks on this complex case and last Thursday the children were put with a number of respite foster carers until arrangements are made for their long-term care as a family unit.

The Times’ portal also carries a story which features in its print version, where we read that Leonid McKay, the incoming chief of the Housing Authority, the worsening phenomenon of homelessness is caused by the erosion of care in the community not problems in the housing market.  It was “changing traditional ties” in the family, Church and NGOs that was leading to the homelessness problem, said Leonid McKay. The government also showed less care – though recently the “benevolent” State had become more “generous”

MaltaToday leads with the comments given by Prime Minister Muscat in an interview on today, where he said that last week’s events have shown Italy that complex issues can’t be solved using threats and bullying, but required persuasion and political solutions. “Speaking during an interview on ONE, Muscat referred to a number of migrants that have been left stranded on an Italian coast guard vessel just off the coast of Sicily. The migrants were intercepted in international waters last week by the coast guard but they have not been allowed to disembark, with Italy insisting that the European Commission intervene to relocate the migrants.” 

The story is also carried on TVM and OneNews too. TVM leads with the assertion, that the government is close to reach an agreement about free school transport for all.

NetNews and TVM report that the Opposition leader Adrian Delia has stated that Government is in a state of confusion regarding the quarter of a billion euro contract for extension of the St Vincent de Paule residence. Referring to various versions which have been given, Delia said Government has still failed to explain whether the contract has been given as a direct order, and whether it is in line with Maltese and European financial rules. Dr Delia added that for this reason the Nationalist Party has asked the Auditor General to investigate, saying the people had a right to know the whole truth.

The Times of Maltawhich carried the story prominently in its print version, said that the PN’s calls for an investigation prompted a reaction from the Labour Party, which on Sunday said that if PN leader Adrian Delia wanted details about the contract, he could just ask his MP Mario de Marco. Dr de Marco, a lawyer by profession, represented the winning consortium in appeals proceedings concerning the €274 million deal.

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