Ital­ian grop­ing claim dropped as com­plainant was ‘too old to be scared’

The Guardian - - WORLD - Lorenzo Tondo Palermo Stephanie Kirch­gaess­ner Rome

Ital­ian prose­cu­tors have dropped a sex­ual ha­rass­ment case against a for­mer pres­i­dent of the coun­try’s football fed­er­a­tion in part be­cause they de­cided that the wo­man who made the com­plaint was old enough not to be in­tim­i­dated.

A re­port by prose­cu­tors in Rome, com­piled ear­lier this year and ob­tained by the Guardian, said the al­le­ga­tions of ha­rass­ment and grop­ing against Carlo Tavec­chio were likely to be ac­cu­rate, but that the case was not pur­sued be­cause it had been re­ported too late to the author­i­ties. They out­lined fur­ther rea­sons for their de­ci­sion not to pur­sue the al­le­ga­tions against Tavec­chio, made by Elis­a­betta Cor­tani, the pres­i­dent of Lazio Women’s football club, who was 50 at the time.

The re­port said Cor­tani’s age and the fact she had dealt with Tavec­chio in the past meant she would not have been in a state of fear or sub­ju­ga­tion.

Tavec­chio’s con­tro­ver­sial ten­ure as head of Italy’s football fed­er­a­tion, dur­ing which he was fre­quently crit­i­cised for a series of racist re­marks, ended last Novem­ber.

Ac­cord­ing to the prose­cu­tors’ re­port, Cor­tani’s com­plaint, filed on 24 Novem­ber 2017, was based on two in­ci­dents in which Tavec­chio groped her breasts and spoke to her in a vul­gar way. Tavec­chio has de­nied that the in­ci­dents oc­curred.

Cor­tani told the Guardian: “Ital­ian women are some­times afraid to press charges, but I want tell all the women out there in Italy that it is al­ways worth it. No mat­ter if you are be­lieved or not, we need to de­mand re­spect. We need to fight!

“Maybe I am old for them, and I could have de­fended my­self. But I can as­sure [you] that I felt in a po­si­tion of in­fe­ri­or­ity; I felt afraid. Be­cause be­ing in that room meant be­ing in the heart of Ital­ian soccer. And in that room in­fe­ri­or­ity and fear have no age.”

▲ Carlo Tavec­chio: con­tro­ver­sial

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