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Rewarding sexual predators

The victim's worst mistake was trying to seek comfort in the arms of the Church

I’m fed up of having to write these posts, seriously. Then again, the alternative is to just accept everything without a whisper, allowing the system to ride roughshod on unfortunate individuals as it pleases. So, despite, knowing that I will not make the slightest iota of difference, I’m still here, typing away to put my disappointment and disgust with our legal system on record, for posterity.

Maybe in a few centuries’ time, if Earth is still around, future lecturers in legal history will point their fingers at Maltese case-law from the 21st century and do the whole LMFAO thing (if that is also, still around) before turning to students to explain exactly why those Malteasers really had no clue.

We’ve had dozens of sexual assault and rape cases where the perpetrators were pretty much let off scot free. This latest one though, starring none other than former Kerygma golden boy Charles Fenech, takes the biscuit, the cake and the whole flipping confectionery. Charles Fenech has not so much gotten off scot free, as much as he is actually being given a conciliatory pat on the back.

It beggars belief that our law courts actually view the typical MO of a professional sexual predator in a positive light

The facts: priest in a position of authority and respect takes advantage of a person undergoing several mental problems and sexually assaults her on multiple occasions. His reward? A three-month suspended sentence and an ‘u ijja, she says he filled an emotional void in her life’. Oh yeah, and because “by her own admission, she saw him as a caring paternal figure”.

You’ve got to be kidding me. It beggars belief that our law courts actually view the typical MO of a professional sexual predator in a positive light, rather than admonishing it for what it is: psychological grooming. Sexual predators are proven to be dab hands at making their victims believe they need them and they’re doing them a favour.

Of course the poor woman thought the predator was filling a void in her life – he had spent months grooming her to believe precisely that. And if our law courts don’t see that or, worse, choose to disregard it, then there really is no hope to rehabilitate the system.

Let’s get this straight. I don’t give a figroll about whatever those who are ordained in the priesthood choose to do behind closed doors, with consenting adults. But this is not a consenting adult we are talking of. This is a woman who was suffering from clinical depression after trying to attempt suicide. She was receiving treatment at Mount Carmel Hospital. Her worst mistake, clearly, was trying to seek comfort in the arms of the church.

The court itself admitted, while giving judgement, that there was no way Charles Fenech could not have known that his victim had mental problems and was not in a position to resist the sexual assault. And yet, here we are. Looking at a free man.

For shame.

PS: In the meantime, just a gentle reminder that Daniel Holmes continues to serve a 10-year-sentence for cultivating some plants on his roof.

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