Host dad accused of abusing minor foreign student

The girl claimed that the man had entered the room she was sleeping in and touched her during the night

The man is accused of entering the girl's room in the middle of the night and touching her breast
The man is accused of entering the girl's room in the middle of the night and touching her breast

A host dad who was hosting two foreign girls at his own home was accused of sexually abusing one of them on Thursday. 

The court heard how the man, who was hosting the 14-year-old foreign student, entered the room he allocated her and the second girl, and touched her. 

The court issued a ban on the publication of the names and any identifying factors of both parties.

The prosecution, led by inspector Roxanne Tabone, told the court that the man had allegedly entered the upstairs room where the girls were sleeping on Wednesday at around 3am. 

Via video conference, the court heard the testimony of the alleged 14-year-old victim, who said she slept in the bottom bunk bed of an upstairs room in the accused’s house. 

“The host dad came into my room and he started touching me. I woke up, and as soon as I did, he went away,” the victim said. 

“How did you know it was him if you were asleep?” the prosecution asked.

“I woke up. I saw his face.” 

She explained how the host dad touched her right breast but couldn’t confirm with which hand he had done so. She told the court that he had pulled her pyjama top down and squeezed her breast. 

The victim willingly presented the dress she had been wearing that night, which was more of a grey, elastic and baggy T-shirt. It was examined by both the prosecution and the defence. 

“When he touched me, he was close to the middle of the bed, next to my legs and leaning over me,” she said. 

At this, the accused, who was very sedated throughout, shook his head. The man started crying silently soon after.

“After he left, he returned soon after with towels, which he placed on the landing outside the room,” she said, explaining that there was no door to the room, just a staircase leading down. 

“He was wearing a red T-shirt. I was very scared. When he turned the light off, I woke up my friend on the upper bunk and I asked her to sleep with her,” the victim said.

She added that this was the first time that this had happened—no other person, including the accused, had touched her breast before this incident. 

The victim sketched the layout of the room for the benefit of the courtroom, which the defence scrutinised before the counter-examination. 

“Where were you before the incident?” the defence asked.

“In the morning I went to the language school, we had a group activity and went to a beach in Comino. I returned to the host family in the evening. We had dinner and later watched a TV series with my friend.”

After looking down at the sketch, the defence asked how the host dad could put his hand under her top through the neck, based on her earlier testimony that he was next to her legs.

“He bent down his body over me.”

The defence said that this was “physically impossible to perform.” The victim reiterated that it had happened and identified the accused through the screen.

After testifying that there were no other male family members inside the house, the victim insisted that he had pulled down her stretchy dress and then squeezed her breast. He had not, in fact, slipped his hand through the neck of her dress.  

On the basis of the foreign student leaving the country in the coming days, the defence counsel asked for the accused to be granted bail. 

The court, presided over by magistrate Claire Stafrace Zammit, granted bail subject to a €300 deposit and to signing a bail book three times a week. 

Lawyers David Farrugia Sacco and Jean Carl Abela were defence counsel. 

The case was adjourned to 12 September. 

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