Maltese alleged abuse victims ask to meet Pope

April 12, 2010

Lawrence Grech, a victim of church child abuse, at a news conference with other victims near Valletta, April 12, 2010/Darrin Zammit Lupi

Ten Maltese men, who have taken three priests to court for alleged child abuse, on Monday requested a private meeting with Pope Benedict XVI when he visits Malta during the coming weekend.

So far, the pope has not spoken out directly on the new wave of sexual abuse allegations that is hounding the Church in a number of coutries, including the United Satates, Italy and his native Germany.

There has been a high incidence of allegations of abuse on the Mediterranean island of Malta, where 45 cases have been reported involving the clergy going back to the 1970s.

“We are asking to meet the Pope for a few minutes to help us heal and to overcome this trauma,” Lawrence Grech, a spokesman for the ten men, told a press conference.  He said the victims, who were resident in a home for children when the alleged abuse took place, were seeking justice, not financial compensation.

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