U.S. Student in Florence Rape Case Speaks

A march protesting violence against women, Florence

After a month of silence, the older student – the 21 year old – of the pair (the other is 19) who filed charges against carabiniere policemen for rape in early September has released a statement commenting on what happened via her lawyers.

“Regarding the events of September 7th, this has been a devastating and difficult time for my family and myself. With the assistance of medical professionals, I am undergoing a painful physical and psychological recovery. While I know there are many questions, I feel it is prudent to allow the Italian judicial system to conduct their investigation and take the time to properly review the evidence.”

“I am confident that justice will be served.”

“I would like to express gratitude to the people of Florence who have shown such amazing support against violence to women. This has meant the world to me especially as Italy has such a special place in my heart.”

The young woman is back in the States and living with her parents, having interrupted her semester abroad experience at an Italian institute, Lorenzo de’ Medici in Florence. She has not returned to her home campus and finds it difficult to even go out of the house.

During their first week in Italy, the girls spent the evening at Piazzale Michelangelo’s Flo disco where they called a taxi at 2:40 am. None were available – some cab drivers also hesitate to pick up clients at clubs – and the on-duty carabinieri, who had arrived to break up an argument involving others, offered to give them a ride home in the squad car, in defiance of regulations.

Investigation has provided a clearer picture of what probably happened on the morning of September 7.

Both young women were intoxicated, with blood alcohol levels of 1.9 and 2% respectively (1.5% is the cut-off for a drunk driving offense in Italy), and not in any condition to give consent to sex with the policemen, which the cops said they had done.

The on-duty carabinieri went into the apartment building where the girls were living at 3:14 am. The 21-year-old said that the older carabiniere (Marco Camuffo, 47) forced her to a have a variety of sexual relations against her will on the landing.

Based on these findings, the Florence district attorney’s office is sustaining charges against Camuffo for rape. The victim plans to return to Florence to be present at the pre-trial hearing.

The carabinieri left at 3:32 am, and a student called the police 113 hotline around 4 am. The girls were taken to the hospital, which substantiated what they said had happened. (rosanna cirigliano)

To read more in Italian, visit Florence’s La Repubblica news site.