A manager at the Malta College of Arts, Science and Technology has resigned suddenly as police investigations into claims of possible sexual misconduct continue, the  Times of Malta is informed.

Sources said the official, who occupied a senior position in the HR department, left “unceremoniously” in what was described as “a forced resignation to avoid further problems”.

According to the sources, the person in question was, until a few months ago, responsible for Pathway, the two-year Mcast programme designed for students with special needs and which is at the centre of the investigation.

Another senior official in the HR department was on long leave after being suspended pending the probe, the sources said.

It is not yet known whether the cases being investigated involved students with intellectual disabilities frequenting the two-year programme that is aimed at instructing them how to live independently.

The Sunday Times of Malta reported fresh claims had been made recently to the Education Minister about sexual misconduct, particularly among lecturers in the Pathway programme, which allegedly remained unaddressed despite reports to the Mcast’s administration.

The Sunday Times of Malta reported it had been informed that the authorities had “closed their eyes” to what had happened. However, when contacted, former Mcast chairman Silvio De Bono denied that no action was taken.

He said that he had ordered an internal inquiry and the CEO at the time, Stephen Cachia, had implemented the recommendations made by the inquiry board. A copy of the inquiry report was handed over to the Education Ministry, Dr De Bono said.

The sources said the fresh claims were made soon after the change of administration at the top echelons of Mcast last June. Dr De Bono was replaced by Frank Schembri, and Mr Cachia was succeeded by former permanent secretary James Calleja.

In a short statement in July, the Education Ministry said it had referred the police allegations “of a criminal nature” for further investigation following claims “by a senior member of staff”.

The Education Minister also announced the appointment of a board of inquiry, headed by financial investment consultant Paul Bonello, to look into allegations of “an administrative and operational aspects” at Mcast.

The ministry was asked if the allegations referred to the police were connected to sexual harassment or similar abuse, but no replies were forthcoming.

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