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