Sports coach with a criminal record remanded in custody after being accused of corrupting a minor

An elderly man and sports coach who allegedly corrupted a 15-year-old teenager who was entrusted in his care, was remanded in custody after he was brought to court yesterday. The accused had already been convicted of corrupting a minor in the 1970s.

The man, whose name cannot be released by court order to protect the victim’s identity, pleaded not guilty to the charges brought against him, including repeatedly subjecting the vulnerable girl to offensive, humiliating and degrading behaviour.

In Court, the Prosecution, led by Inspector John Spiteri, said the alleged abuse was reported by Appogg after the girl told social workers how she had suffered sexual advances from the man. She said the man, who was her coach, was driving her to and from home and when they were alone he would allegedly touch her breasts and private parts.

Inspector Spiteri explained that the girl had told him to stop but he had warned her not to tell anyone to avoid getting him into trouble. Following these acts, the girl needed psychiatric help after she allegedly showed suicidal tendencies.

The request for release from custody led to lengthy submissions, with the prosecution arguing that the proceedings were still at a very early stage and there was a fear of tampering with the evidence. Attorney General lawyer Angele Vella said there was a risk of further criminal acts being committed because the man had already been convicted of corruption of minors back in the 1970s.

Dr Vella said that during his arrest on Sunday, the Police found a photo on the mobile phone that he had allegedly taken of two young girls who were walking in the street. When confronted about the photo, the accused smiled and did not react. This, the lawyer claimed, made the man unreliable.

Defence counsel, Franco Debono and Richard Sladden, said the accused had cooperated with the Police and was willing to submit to supervision by a probation officer or psychiatrist as the court deemed appropriate. The defence said that both the minor and her mother did not want to report the case to the Police.

However, the Prosecution objected and said the alleged case had had a serious effect on the girl.

The Court presided over by Magistrate Marseann Farrugia rejected the request for release from custody due to the risk of tampering with the evidence, the gravity of the accusations and the criminal conduct of the accused.