No Recent Sex Abuse Found in Malia Case
Due to the statute of limitations, police say they can't prosecute the former Cheverus coach

By Peter Pochna
Portland Press Herald
March 24, 2000

[See other articles about Charles Malia.]

Portland police have concluded a monthlong investigation of former Cheverus High School teacher Charles Malia without finding evidence to charge him with sexually abusing children, Police Chief Michael Chitwood said Thursday.

Police initially interviewed five men who alleged that Malia sexually abused them when he was their teacher and coach in the 1960s and 1970s, Chitwood said. But subsequent interviews with dozens of recent Cheverus graduates found no evidence that Malia abused anyone within the statute of limitations for criminal prosecution, which extends back to 1993.

On March 3, Malia admitted to the Portland Press Herald that he sexually abused students years ago. But he insisted that the behavior had stopped. Chitwood said the most recent incident of abuse that police uncovered took place in 1978.

"We have tried to follow up on every lead, but we have discovered nothing that falls within the statute of limitations," Chitwood said. "As much as my heart goes out to (the five alleged victims), we can only do what the law dictates."

He said police will reopen the investigation if a recent victim comes forward.

Glenn Works, who claims he was sexually abused by Malia during a summer track workout at Cheverus in 1978, said he's disappointed Malia won't face criminal charges.

But he said he's not surprised that the investigation produced no recent victims.

"It took me a long time to get to the point where I could talk about what happened to me," said Works, 36, an operating room technician at Maine Medical Center. "I'm sure there are individuals out there suppressing their feelings."

Malia, 55, learned of Chitwood's announcement when a reporter called him at Scarborough Downs, where he continues to work organizing harness races. He retired from Cheverus in 1998 after one of the alleged victims told his story to school officials.

"This has been extremely difficult," he said. "I'm trying to make up for lost time and undo what I've done in the past that has caused so much pain."

Malia said that when the story of his admission broke in the Press Herald, he felt suicidal and checked into a hospital for a couple of days to receive psychological treatment.

Since then he has returned to his home in Old Orchard Beach and is receiving counseling. He said he has received many letters from Cheverus alumni, some expressing disgust, some offering support.

Malia said he would like to meet with his victims and say he's sorry for what he did.

Works said that's not a good idea.

"There's still a lot of hate and anger out here," Works said.

The allegations against Malia and his public admission shook the Cheverus community. Malia worked as a teacher and coach at the school for 30 years, leading his track and cross-country teams to so many state championships that he earned a position in the National Amateur Sports Hall of Fame. The school has maintained that it had no idea about the abuse, until an adult victim stepped forward in 1997.

The police investigation included interviews with about 36 recent Cheverus graduates, focusing on members of the track team, Chitwood said.

The department searched aggressively for a recent case, Chitwood said, because it's unusual for pedophiles to stop their abusive behavior on their own.

Malia said he stopped because, "I just came to realize that what was happening wasn't good for anybody. I don't think I had understood the graveness of what I was doing."

The Rev. John Keegan, the school's president, said he's relieved the police found no recent victims.

"I'm just pleased that no one else was found to have been hurt in this way," he said.

School officials met Monday with Works and several other men who claim they either were abused by Malia or witnessed him abuse others. The meeting was the second at which the school and the victims' group have discussed the abuse and what the school should do about it. Both sides have agreed not to publicly discuss details of the two meetings.

Works said he expects that in the next few days the school will honor a request by the victims' group to issue a public, written statement on the matter.

The school has already agreed to the group's request that Malia's name be removed from the school track that was dedicated to him in 1994.

Staff Writer Peter Pochna can be contacted at 791-6329 or at:


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