The victim of sexual assault at the hands of actor John Suda has spoken out against Teatru Manoel’s decision to produce a play translated by him.

The production, an adaptation of a French farce by Marc Camoletti and Baverley Cross, is due to be performed in February. Suda is credited with translating and adapting the play, alongside Mario Micallef.

Suda was found guilty of violent indecent assault on the 22-year-old woman in July 2015 and was sentenced to a 12-month jail term suspended for two years. He was also placed under a two-year protection order. He was 66 years old when convicted in 2018.

The drama teacher and veteran actor was later stripped of his teacher’s warrant.

Speaking on Facebook, the victim asked Teatru Manoel why someone who has been found guilty of sexual assault and prohibited from teaching or performing is involved in one of the theatre’s productions.

She accused the theatre of promoting his name and expressed her disappointment at the cast members for getting involved in a production involving a sexual predator.

A description of the production taken from the Teatru Manoel websiteA description of the production taken from the Teatru Manoel website

Times of Malta has decided not to name the victim at this stage. 

Other actors have also hit out against the national theatre's decision. Thomas Camilleri said it was "disgraceful" while Joe Depasquale also questioned why it had agreed to work with him.

Film director Martin Bonnici described it as a "new low". 

A Teatru Manoel spokesperson told Times of Malta that Suda does not have any involvement with the production, outside of the original translation which was carried over 30 years ago in November 1992.

The theatre said that Suda will receive no payment or compensation from this production.

John Suda was convicted of violent indecent assault in 2018. Photo: FacebookJohn Suda was convicted of violent indecent assault in 2018. Photo: Facebook

When questioned over whether it is appropriate for the national theatre to be associated with a person convicted of sexual assault, the theatre insisted that there is no association and that Suda is not involved in the production in any way.

Asked about the victim’s public statements, the spokesperson preferred not to comment on the matter. 

Blindfolded and assaulted

The assault took place when the woman, then an aspiring actress, auditioned for a role in a soap opera to be screened on local television and was contacted by Suda through Facebook to carry out individual coaching to improve her diction and stage confidence. Suda was a scriptwriter on the soap opera.

When she arrived for the session, Suda proceeded to lock the door, pocket the key, and eventually blindfold her and ask her to strip to her underwear and walk around the room while reciting her lines.

Suda eventually began to fondle her and kiss her on the face and neck, pulling her towards him and placing his private parts inside her mouth, in spite of the woman’s continued reluctance. Suda’s assault continued until the woman burst into tears, at which point he unlocked the door and told her that the session was over.

The courts later determined that the woman had outwardly shown her reluctance all along “in every possible manner”.

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