Lourdes Home orphange abuse: first police statement given in 2014, court hears

Police superintendent testifies in Constitutional case filed by abuse survivors, who accuse the State of having failed to safeguard their rights at the orphanage

Lourdes Home (Photo: James Bianchi/MaltaToday)
Lourdes Home (Photo: James Bianchi/MaltaToday)

The first time that a victim of abuse at a Church-run orphanage in Gozo in the 1970s and 80s had given a statement to the police was in 2014, a judge was told yesterday.

Mr. Justice Mark Simiana continued to hear testimony, as the Constitutional case filed by survivors of the abuse, who accuse the State of having done nothing to safeguard their rights or care at the orphanage, continued on Friday.

MaltaToday has written about the abuse, as well as the scars that it left on the victims, in depth.

The victims had rekindled their case in 2022 and went to Gozo Chris’s safeguarding commission, who then referred the case to the police. 

Vice Squad Police Superintendent Kylie Borg told the court that in 2022, the Church Safeguarding Commission for vulnerable adults and children had informed the police about the allegations of physical and sexual abuse at the orphanage. Borg said she had been informed after the victims had pressured the Commission about the status of its investigation.

She told the court that after interviewing the alleged victims at her office at the police force’s Floriana Headquarters, she had informed them that there wasn’t much that could be done because the abuse happened over 40 years before and therefore the crimes being alleged were time-barred.

The judge asked Borg whether the police had ever compiled an official report about the allegations made by the alleged victims, but the witness replied that she could not recall.

 However, the superintendent added that it was not the first time that the alleged victims had spoken to the police about the abuse - the first statement taken from one of them had been made in 2014 to an inspector stationed at Victoria, Gozo, she said.

In previous sittings, the court had heard victims give horrific testimony of random beatings by nuns and sexual abuse at the hands of one of the priests at the orphanage.

The case will continue in May.

Lawyer Lara Dimitrijevic is assisting the claimants.