Fury over pat on bottom case

The Scotsman
26 JANUARY 2001

A PAT on the bottom is not sexual harassment - as long as it is "isolated and impulsive", Italy’s highest appeals court has ruled.

The case involved the manager of a public health agency in northern Italy found guilty of sexually harassing a woman employee. He was jailed for 18 months and fined 8 million lire (£2,200). The man claimed that the has had been brought by the woman as "her little revenge" after he had refused to consider her for career advancement. The conviction was overturned on appeal.

On Wednesday, Italy’s highest criminal appeals court, the Court of Cassation, said it agreed with the appeals court ruling. It said it found no evidence the man intended "an act of libido." It said the pat appeared to be an "isolated" incident and "impulsive".

The decision brought swift reaction. "If 10 men each give us a pat on the bottom, should we go home happy?" said Cristina Matranga, a member of the the conservative Forza Italia party in parliament.

Alessandra Mussolini, the granddaughter of the dictator, Benito Mussolini, and now a member of parliament, called the ruling "a new humiliation for women."

In 1999, the supreme court provoked an international outcry when it ruled that it was impossible to rape a woman wearing tight jeans as she would have to help get them off and said that amounted to consent.

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This Page was created on 26th January, 2001