Police probed in Italy’s Florence after rape claims

Florence (Italy), Sep 8 (IANS/AKI) Prosecutors in Florence on Friday opened an investigation into claims made by two female American college students that they were raped in the central Italian city by two Carabinieri officers who offered to drive them home from a nightclub in a police car.

Prosecutors said they launched the probe after video cameras, forensic evidence and separate interviews with the two women corroborated their claims that they were attacked by two policemen who offered to escort them home from a nightclub early on Thursday.

The two students, aged 19 and 21, allege the police officers, who they asked for directions to return to their rented flat in the centre of Florence, said they would drive the women home.

The students, who are currently staying in sheltered accommodation until their parents arrive from the US, say they were they raped by the policemen at their apartment building in Borgo Santi Apostoli in the historic centre of Florence.

Both women tested positive for drugs and alcohol and had taken out anti-rape insurance policies before travelling to Italy, according to investigators.

One of the police officers is a 40-year-old married man, local daily La Nazione reported.

US Consul General in Florence Benjamin Wohlauer had an hour-long meeting on Friday with the city’s police chief Alberto Intini to discuss the rape allegations, which the US State Department said it is taking “very seriously,” according to La Nazione.

The women were studying Italian in Florence, which contains many language schools and where several American universities have campuses.

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