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Italian Judge Accused of Running Cult-Like Law School
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Judge Francesco Bellomo

Summary: An Italian Judge has been secretly investigated for over a year for pressuring female students for sex and running the school like a cult.

An Italian judge is accused of running a prestigious law school like a cult. Judge Francesco Bellomo has been on one of Italy’s top courts for ten years and teaching at a highly respected law school. However, recently leaked documents allege that Bellomo was pressuring female students for sex and running the school like a “cult.”

  
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During a time when the world is starting to hold men accountable for their sexual misconduct, Italy has been slow on the acceptance of the #MeToo movement. Italians and people all over the globe are calling into question the country’s handling of sexual abuse cases, especially since the allegations were kept secret for over a year.

The case was started on December 28, 2016 against Bellomo after the father of one of the accusers filed a complaint with the Council of State, Italy’s top body of administrative justice. An investigation was started a few weeks later and is ongoing. During the investigation, Bellomo has been able to retain his position but will likely be expelled now that the allegations are public.

A leak of the documents to the newspaper Il Fatto Quotidiano last month brought the allegations to light, otherwise, the investigation would still be a secret. With the leak and a summary of the documents posted by the newspaper, the public has demanded action. Two criminal investigations have now been opened against Bellomo. A disciplinary investigation into his aides has also been opened by Italy’s High Council of the Judiciary.

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Bellomo was the director and teacher at Diritto e Scienza, a private school for graduate students preparing for the state exam to be a judge, much like a law school. He used his position of authority to make the female students have sex with him.

While using his power to have sex with female students is not necessarily illegal in Italy, retaliation is. According to The Washington Post, Bellomo resorted to detailing his mistresses private lives in the school’s academic journal, threatening gratuitous legal action and sending the police to one woman’s house when she tried to end her relationship with him.



The documents further allege that Bellomo ran the school like a cult by dividing the students into two groups. There were regular students that paid tuition and lived normal lives and another group of top students that received scholarships in return for signing a contract of loyalty to Bellomo. The top students also agreed to a vow of secrecy and gave up the freedom to date who they wanted – Bellomo had to approve their relationships. There was also a strict dress code, requiring women to wear miniskirts with a minimum of two-thirds of their thighs exposed.

The private school also taught an obscure legal doctrine based on Bellomo’s belief in “superior humans” or “superior agents” that were able to “exercise strong control over nature.” In a paper published in the school’s academic journal in 2015, Bellomo argued that legal systems should require the existence of “superior agents” and apply the law differently to them.

The Council of State has banned him from teaching and will expel him for abuse of authority and violating the “personal dignity of the students.” President Engenio Albamonte of Italy’s national association of judges criticized the secrecy of the investigation, “Transparency is a core principle of the rule of law. When disciplinary hearings are made public, that’s best for everyone.”

The “superior agent” theory and miniskirt dress code were first revealed in 2015 when former students mocked them online.

Do you think the #MeToo movement will have any effect on this case? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.

To learn more about what the #MeToo movement has accomplished, read these articles:

Photo: tech2.org



 

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