Carabinieri rape trial in Florence commences

credit: Corriere della Sera

ROME - Two female U.S. students, 20 and 21, flew from America to Florence Wednesday in order to testify against two Carabinieri paramilitary police oficers who allegedly raped them. They were transported from the airport in a windowless van to a secure location ahead of the trial. It is the first time they have returned since they left following their interaction with the accused.

 According to the women, the incident took place on Sept. 7 in the early hours of the morning. The two had been at a popular club in the city when they met the officers who, after attempting to call a taxi for them, took them back to their apartment.

 In the stairwell and elevator of their apartment building, the pair was allegedly raped by the uniformed officers. While sexual intercourse did take place, the carabinieri claim that it was consensual.

 The students who were on Erasmus at Istituto Lorenzo de’ Medici claim that they were far too intoxicated to consent to intercourse, a fact that has also been denied by the officers. The recent politicisation of intoxication undermining consent in American universities has not taken in Italy.

 The students were to give testimony in an empty room in front of a camera, the footage of which will be displayed by to the court. A lawyer defending one of the officers say that the women will be asked upwards of 250 questions relating to the incident.

 American students, who make up 10 percent of the city's student population, are not popular with Florentines, as one commented, “Italians have a really low opinion of Americans. They think we are stupid.”

 The incident has proved divisive between the police, the American expatriate community, and the local Florentines. The mayor and head of police have released statements critical of police misconduct yet trust in the respected force is tarnished for the time being. 

 The case is to be put before Judge Mario Profeta in the aula bunker, a court made famous in the events of the Mafia’s war on the state in the 90s.