Italian police officers investigated over alleged rape of US students

Two Italian police officers are being investigated for the alleged sexual assault of two American students, Italian media reported on Friday.

Italian police officers investigated over alleged rape of US students
File photo of Florence: gwen/Flickr

The alleged assault took place in Florence on Wednesday night, when the two women claim two on-duty Carabinieri police officers raped them.

The women, aged 19 and 21, spent the evening at a nightclub where a group of police officers were called to break up a fight.

Four of the officers left shortly afterwards when calm was restored, and the remaining two offered the Americans a lift home; they were captured on CCTV footage getting into the police car.

Once they returned to the students' apartment in central Florence, the women claim the officers raped them.

Both women were examined in hospital on Thursday and investigators have confiscated the clothes they were wearing during the incident to carry out analyses, Florentine paper La Nazione reported.

According to police sources cited by Ansa, police then interviewed the women separately over the course of the day, “and found no inconsistencies in their stories”.

Each year, the Tuscan city hosts thousands of US students at some forty universities and countless language schools.

Florence is the city with the country's second highest rate of reported sexual assaults, according to figures released by national statistics agency Istat earlier this year.

Istat data also showed that in the first six months of 2017, more than 2,000 people were charged with sexual assault in Italy – though the agency estimated that fewer than ten percent of the total number of sexual assault crimes are reported to police.

ANALYSIS: 'Violence against women conditions every aspect of our lives'


Italy’s president calls for ‘full truth’ on anniversary of Bologna bombing

President Sergio Mattarella said on Tuesday it was the state's duty to shed more light on the 1980 bombing of Bologna's train station, on the 42nd anniversary of the attack that killed 85 people and injured 200.

Italy's president calls for 'full truth' on anniversary of Bologna bombing

On August 2nd 1980, a bomb exploded in the railway station’s waiting room, causing devastation on an unprecedented scale.

Five members of terrorist groups were later convicted in relation to the bombing, the worst episode in Italy’s ‘Years of Lead’ period of political violence in the 1970s and 80s.

Most recently, in 2020, a former member of the far-right Armed Revolutionary Nucleus (NAR) was sentenced to life imprisonment for providing logistical support to those who carried out the attack.

But suspicions remain of cover-ups and the involvement of “deviant elements” within the nation’s security services, reported Italian news agency Ansa.

READ ALSO: Bologna massacre: 40 years on, questions remain over Italy’s deadliest postwar terror attack

“The bomb that killed people who happened to be at the station on that morning 42 years ago still reverberates with violence in the depths of the country’s conscience,” Mattarella said in a speech marking the anniversary on Tuesday.

“It was the act of cowardly men of unequalled inhumanity, one of the most terrible of the history of the Italian Republic.

A train compartment at Bologna station pictured following the 1980 bombing attributed to the neo-fascist terrorist organization Nuclei Armati Rivoluzionari.

“It was a terrorist attack that sought to destabilise democratic institutions and sow fear, hitting ordinary citizens going about their everyday tasks.

“On the day of the anniversary our thoughts go, above all, to the relatives forced to suffer the greatest pain.

“The neo-fascist nature of the massacre has been established in court and further steps have been made to unveil the cover-ups and those who ordered the attack in order to comply with the Republic’s duty to seek the full truth”.

The bombing remains Western Europe’s fourth deadliest postwar terror attack, and one of the most devastating in Italy’s history.