An art teacher has been remanded in custody on child abuse charges after allegedly groping pupils during private lessons.

Carmel Agius, 52 of Fgura, was arraigned under arrest before magistrate Donatella Frendo Dimech on Monday, accused of sexually molesting five of his students, all girls aged between 9 and 12.

Inspectors Roxanne Tabone and Hubert Cini of the police’s Criminal Investigation Department told the court that Mr Agius gave private lessons at his studio, known as Agius Art School. 

One of his students had spoken to her parents after allegedly being touched inappropriately during one of his lessons. 

A police report was filed prompting an investigation which saw investigators send for over 50 of the art school’s students, of whom 4 reported instances of sexual harassment.

Mr Agius’ lawyer, Martha Mifsud, entered a plea of not guilty.

She also requested a ban on the publication of the man’s name, but the court rejected this request, instead ordering a ban on the publication of the names of the minors.

There was no reason for the accused’s name to be banned from publication, magistrate Frendo Dimech said.

Defence lawyer Dr Mifsud requested bail, arguing that safeguards could be imposed to protect the children.

However, the prosecution informed the court that the accused was already facing similar charges in other ongoing court proceedings.

The court denied bail request.

Inspectors Hubert Cini and Roxanne Tabone prosecuted. 

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