Home Australia Fury in Italy as judge acquits man of groping stewardess because the 20 seconds it took him to react to the “sexual assault” were “too long”

Fury in Italy as judge acquits man of groping stewardess because the 20 seconds it took him to react to the “sexual assault” were “too long”

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The airline worker would have gone to Raffaele Meola's offices in search of help to resolve a labor dispute
  • Raffaele Meola was accused of sexually assaulting a woman in March 2018

A judge has sparked fury in Italy by acquitting a man of groping a stewardess because the 20 seconds it took him to react to the alleged attack were “too long”.

Raffaele Meola, then a union leader, was accused of sexually assaulting the woman in March 2018.

The airline worker reportedly went to Mr Meola’s offices in Malpensa, northern Italy, to seek help with a labor dispute.

The Milan Court of Appeal acquitted Mr Meola of the alleged sexual violence after a previous trial in 2022 also acquitted him on similar grounds, and the verdict then suggested that the woman’s reaction to the alleged assault was not sufficiently fast.

Women’s rights activists and the women’s legal team have criticized the result as turning the clock back decades and have vowed to fight against it.

The airline worker would have gone to Raffaele Meola’s offices in search of help to resolve a labor dispute

His lawyer said after the verdict: ‘We will appeal to the Supreme Court because this sentence takes us back 30 years.

They added that it went against the precedent of the Supreme Court which “for more than ten years stated that a sexual act, performed suddenly without the consent of the woman, is a crime of sexual violence and must be tried as such.”

Jury forewoman Nicoletta Guerrero said “the victim was believed” but there was not enough evidence to prove the allegations.

During the alleged assault, as reported in the previous trial, Mr Meola was standing behind the woman when he put his hands on her.

He is said to have touched, kissed and massaged her while the woman, for about thirty seconds, “continued to leaf through and read the documents without expressing disagreement.”

The court heard the woman’s “reaction time” would have led Mr Meola to “misperceive his colleague’s will”. the everyday fat man reported at the time.

The Milan Court of Appeal acquitted Meola of the alleged sexual violence after a previous trial in 2022 also acquitted him. In the photo: archive image of the Milan Court of Justice

The Milan Court of Appeal acquitted Meola of the alleged sexual violence after a previous trial in 2022 also acquitted him. In the photo: archive image of the Milan Court of Justice

Lawyer Teresa Manente responded to the 2022 ruling by saying it was “impregnated with sexist prejudices, once again attributing responsibility for the crime to the woman.”

Speaking to Corriere Della Sera, the alleged victim responded to the previous verdict: ‘Doesn’t a woman have the right to remain petrified and paralyzed in the face of harassment?’

Elisa Ercoli, president of women’s rights group Differenza donna, said the latest verdict shows that Italy’s sexual assault laws “cause serious and ongoing institutional violence” and called for an “urgent” review of them.

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