Lawrence Grech, a victim of clerical sex abuse, this morning filed a judicial counter-protest against Fr Conrad Sciberras, standing by abuse allegations made against him.
Fr Sciberras last week filed a judicial protest against Mr Grech, calling on him to stop making his allegations.
Mr Grech in his counter-protest, said that Fr Sciberras had at no time denied the allegations or even remotely tried to contradict them.
He claimed that when he was 13 years old, Fr Sciberras had groped his private parts and abused him on the pretext of teaching him to swim. Other children, he said, had also been subjected to abuse.
It resulted in investigations by the Church's Response Team that the allegations against Fr Sciberras were 'founded' but criminal action could not be taken because they were time-barred, Mr Grech said.
The allegations against Fr Sciberras had been in the media for eight years, and it was only now that the priest was reacting to them, Mr Grech said.
In comments to the media, Mr Grech added that he would not be intimidated and would welcome libel action by Fr Sciberras as that would enable him to give more details and also reveal other cases.
In his protest last week, Fr Sciberras said he had no option but to take legal action against Mr Grech because the latter’s claims in the media were pre-judicing his (the priest’s) case before the Vatican.
Fr Sciberras said he had gone through proceedings before the Church Response Team on the insistence of both Mr Grech and others within the hierarchy of the Church. The proceedings were now completed.
A decree was issued by the Response Team and had still to be confirmed by the Vatican. He was bound by secrecy and could not reveal what the verdict consisted of, Fr Sciberras said, insisting that the continued comments in the media by Mr Grech were prejudicial to his case.
There were no pending or potential criminal cases against him and yet, Mr Grech had acted as if the media and the public should believe his allegations without listening to both sides of the story, Fr Sciberras added.
He noted that, in a news conference a few days before the Pope’s visit to Malta last year, Mr Grech had claimed that he (Fr Sciberras) had escaped from the island, when this was a “blatant lie”.
When it came to ethics and acting prudently, Mr Grech’s behaviour had surpassed all limits and left him with no option but to take legal action against him, Fr Sciberras said.
The Magistrates’ Court found on August 2 that Mr Grech was among 11 victims who had been abused by two priests, Carmel Pulis (since defrocked) and Fr Francesco, also known as Godwin, Scerri. They were sentenced to a total of 11 years in prison. They have appealed from the judgement.