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Italian Court Clears Man Of Sexual Assault Charges As Victim Took 20 Seconds To React

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Italian Court Clears Man Of Sexual Assault Charges As Victim Took 20 Seconds To React

The lawyer said that the verdict went against Supreme Court precedent

An Italian judge is receiving criticism for clearing a man accused of groping a flight attendant. The controversial verdict hinged on the woman’s alleged delayed reaction, which the judge inexplicably deemed too slow to be evidence of a genuine assault, Vanity Fair Italy reported. 

This justification has sparked outrage from women’s rights groups and the attendant’s legal team, who argue it sets a dangerous precedent and discourages victims from coming forward. 

The case centres around Raffaele Meola, a former trade union official, who was accused of groping the attendant in 2018. This is reportedly not the first time the judge has ruled in Meola’s favour based on the attendant’s reaction time, raising concerns about potential bias. The verdict is being challenged, with the attendant’s legal team vowing to fight for justice.

Her lawyer said following the verdict, “We will appeal to the Supreme Court because this sentence takes us back 30 years.”

The lawyer said that the verdict went against Supreme Court precedent which ‘for over ten years stated that a sexual act, carried out unexpectedly without ascertaining the woman’s consent, is a crime of sexual violence and must be judged as such.’

Despite claiming to believe the victim, the judge, Nicoletta Guerrero, threw out the case due to a lack of “sufficient evidence.” This justification stemmed from a detail from the alleged assault: Mr. Meola, standing behind the woman, reportedly touched, kissed, and massaged her for 30 seconds. The critical point? The court argued her continued reading of documents during this time implied a lack of immediate objection.

This supposed “slow reaction,” according to Il Fatto Quotidiano, led the judge to believe Mr Meola might have misinterpreted the situation.

These are his words reported by Corriere della Sera. “This judicial case highlights once again the urgency of a reform of the law provided for by article 609 bis of the penal code which clearly defines that the crime of rape is any sexual act carried out without the consent of the woman, whose dissent is always presumed, as provided for by the Istanbul Convention. The burden of proving the woman’s consent to the sexual act must be provided by the accused. Currently, the current law, together with non-specialised jurisprudence, favours the secondary victimization of women who report and this is unacceptable.”

Elisa Ercoli, president of Differenza donna, also intervened, “This sentence is proof of how our law 66/96 is the cause of serious and continuous institutional violence, we reject a democracy that effectively prevents women from obtaining justice following rape. We urgently ask for a new law with evolved parameters of justice without having our institutions against us anymore.”



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