Fake Turinese "guru" arrested for rape

The guru and his accomplices were arrested by the Squadra Mobile

TURIN-- A fake 69-year-old soothsayer and his accomplices, a 74-year-old man and a 19-year-old boy, were arrested for gang rape of a minor student. During spiritual gatherings the young girl, whose statements provoked the investigations, was drugged and raped. Inquiries are being made to establish whether there were any other victims.

 The so-called “guru”, who has been named as Paolo Meraglia, is a 69-year-old retired teacher. The man, claiming to have otherworldly powers, had convinced the girl that she was victim to strong ‘negativity’, and needed to undergo purification rites. The rites, which consisted in sexual relations, both one-on-one and group in nature, were consummated under the effect of hallucinogenic drugs. They took place in an attic in the Turinese neighbourhood San Donato, and also in the Meraglia's residence in the outskirts of the Piedmontese capital.

 The 74-year-old accomplice, Biagino Viotti, and the fiancé of the young girl are also being held to account. From the investigations, the existence of a genuine hierarchical cult has emerged: at the core of the organisation are the ‘Master’, ‘Apostle, the ‘Vestal Virgin’, the ‘Catalysts’ and the ‘Housemaids’. The existence of other agents in the plot, including other female victims, is being considered. The mother of the fiancé, and friend of the “guru”, has also been identified as a participator in the rites.

 The girl started visiting the soothsayer’s house in September 2015. As time went on, she was blackmailed with the release sex tapes taken during the sessions. The investigations, coordinated by the public ministers Marco Sanini and Fabiola D’Errico, began after the girl visited the city’s Anti-violence Centre.