The sexual harassment scandal at the Malta Philharmonic Orchestra is being taken “very seriously” National Heritage, Arts and Local Government Minister Owen Bonnici told The Shift News.
A disciplinary board is investigating the case and another external board has been established to examine the circumstances of the case and to make recommendations on preventing such situations from recurring, following The Shift’s revelations of sexual harassment at the national orchestra.
“The ministry is taking this case seriously,” Bonnici told The Shift News on Thursday. “There is no room for sexual harassment in any workplace, not least at the national orchestra.”
He explained how upon the arraignment of “a member of the administration of the orchestra, following an admission in the Court of Magistrates, a board external to the orchestra was appointed.”
In addition to the disciplinary board that will be hearing the case while the employee in question is out on suspension on half-pay, a second external board will, without prejudice to the work already carried out by the police force, examine the circumstances of the sexual harassment and make recommendations for not allowing it to happen again.
Following The Shift’s revelations of sexual harassment and gross misconduct at the orchestra, a 31-year-old Gozitan last Friday was arraigned in court, where he admitted to the charges. He was given a one-year prison sentence suspended for four years as well as a five-year restraining order.
The man, whose name was banned by court order along with that of the victim, admitted to the police charges of subjecting his victim to acts of physical intimacy, harassment, behaviour with sexual implications and the misuse of electronic communications.
But musicians, administrators, and members of management are demanding action following The Shift’s revelations of sexual harassment at the MPO, which have now been confirmed in court, and are calling for the sacking of CEO Sigmund Mifsud for “covering up” the accusations when he had been made aware of them months before by the victim herself.
In her resignation letter seen by The Shift, she told Mifsud, “I have explained to your good self that my physical and mental health had deteriorated rapidly due to excessive stress caused by abuse and multiple incidents of sexual harassment that took place at the office and during work functions.”