The first time a fanatical Italian prosecutor tried to silence me through an accusation of “sexual acts with children,” there was a little obstacle: the police couldn’t find any victims. So to avoid losing that first case, the prosecutor made a desperate effort to create some victims. In the summer of 2019 after years of unrestricted fascist-style investigations, the state brought a ten-year-old girl to court and she said “He touched my private parts. I hate him.” An open and shut case? Not quite.
The accusation referred to 2014, when I visited a poor family every Sunday, brought them groceries, clothes, books and toys, took them to the beach and the zoo, and helped them with their homework. As part of my 30 years of volunteering with poor families, in some cases I have even registered children for school, got them out of bed every morning, fed them, brought them to school, then accompanied them home.
My regular contacts with the family lasted for a year, and then occasional visits over the next three years. In 2016 when the prosecutor ordered the police to illegally search my home and confiscate my computer and cell phone, the inquisitors saw my normal photographs of the children (never nude or in any sexual context) and identified their parents through my telephone records. Then they interrogated the father, who had nothing negative to say about me.
But in the fall of 2017 when it appeared that I would be acquitted of the ridiculous charge of “child pornography,” the prosecutor became desperate for evidence of some crime, any crime, so three little sisters were suddenly taken away from their parents and placed in state custody. The official excuse was that the father was unemployed and the family was now living as squatters in an occupied school. But in reality the father had been unemployed for years – not just in 2017, the children have grandparents they could have been placed with, and there were many other families living in the school whose children weren’t kidnapped by the state. (The classrooms had been converted into apartments with private bathrooms, kitchens and free electricity.)
In cases where the suspected perpetrator is a family member, teacher, or other person who is very close to the child, being isolated from the suspect may be more damaging to the child than the supposed abuse. But since there is mass hysteria over child sex abuse, state employees are rarely if ever prosecuted for being overzealous. Despite no reports of any kind of abuse, the prosecutor ordered the police to interrogate the sisters while in state custody. The children denied any abuse and had nothing negative to say about me. They even said they liked me and missed me. Frustrated, a few months later the prosecutor even interrogated the mother, who likewise had nothing negative to say about me.
Then in the summer of 2019, five years after the supposed crime the children were brought to court by the state. In theory it was a pretrial taint hearing, so the witnesses could confirm their previous accusations against me, except that the children hadn’t made any accusations against me or anybody else. The real motive for bringing the children into court was to coercively interrogate them again so they might make some accusation this time. Upon the prodding of the judge one child did make a 180 degree turn – accusing me of touching her. Note that in court the child was reluctant to say anything, probably because she had been forced to lie.
In state custody the conversation is always controlled, and the topic of sex is always related to investigation and prosecution, which may actually lead to more negative outcomes for the child such as suicidal ideation. Blind law enforcement is considered more important than the welfare of the child, and the assumed importance of assessment, “treatment” and other interventions that justify the salaries of victim advocates may be more than coincidental. At first the child refused to answer and began to cry, but the judge and state psychologist insisted that she answer suggestive questions, which indicates the state already knew that while in state custody the child had been persuaded to accuse me of something, anything, so she had probably agreed in exchange for being left alone after her testimony, and a promise of being freed from state custody eventually.
That isn’t a normal investigation, it’s an inquisition. The state can treat adult criminals like that, but not child witnesses who will eventually agree with whatever the kidnappers want the child to say. In this case the child who said “He touched my private parts” was actually five years old in 2014, and yet five years later she has a reliable memory of supposed abuse that she had denied before? She doesn’t even remember her previous statements defending me much more recently than the supposed abuse. Her accusation was made only after being in state custody for two years, after who knows how many hours of unrecorded suggestive questioning, promises, threats and other mental torture by state employees. After two years in “protective” custody the formerly happy little girl also declared “I hate everybody.” When asked if she ever lies, she replied “In school I always tell lies.”
According to Italian law, the accused is entitled to copies of all videos and transcripts or other supposed evidence, but so far I have received only half of the evidence, and always at the last minute when there isn’t enough time to prepare for the next hearing. An open and shut witch hunt, just like the many other wild west prosecutions that have gone before. I feel like the man who was wrongfully convicted of killing his wife and child. On top of losing his wife and child, the state then hanged him by the neck until dead.