July 13, 2023
Luca Mazzacane
(Pavia, Italy)

A school janitor in the neighborhood of Ostia in Rome has been acquitted of sexual assault charges after having groped the buttocks of a 17-year-old student. She reported him in 2022. The 66-year-old reached out his hands for a brief grope, but according to the Italian justice system, was not considered to have committed a crime because it lasted only a handful of seconds.

Rome court judges found that having groped the 17-year-old girl's buttocks for a very short time, the janitor was guilty of only a "clumsy maneuver" and a "playful act." According to reports in the Corriere della Sera, one year ago the student was walking up the stairs of the institute when she felt his hands slip into her underpants, move her panties, and touch her buttocks.

The prosecutor had asked for a three-year, six-month prison sentence against him. But the judges, while believing the girl's account, held that "the act did not constitute a crime" because there was no intention on the janitor's part to molest the girl. So he ruled on the case as only a "clumsy maneuver without concupiscence."

The voice of the Rete degli Studenti Medi in Lazio commented on the news:

“We are outraged by the motivation of the ruling. Again a harassment is not recognized as such for an absurd reason, this time even by virtue of its duration. We want to feel safe everywhere, and especially at school, which should teach us how to recognize and break down gender violence and discrimination. Instead, once again, this does not happen, and instead school buildings become the scene of harassment that is not even recognized and punished.”


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