Join 3,561 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


Berlusconi Indicted: Italian Prime Minister To Stand Trial On Teen Prostitution Charges
February 15, 2011 7:24 AM   Subscribe

Berlusconi Indicted: Italian Prime Minister To Stand Trial On Teen Prostitution Charges
posted by Meatbomb (53 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

 
In future news: Berlusconi Acquitted of Teen Prostitution Charges
posted by saturday_morning at 7:28 AM on February 15, 2011 [18 favorites]


I heard this news and thought to myself, man... Shame we can't bring American political criminals to justice (hell, at least TRY them on some charges) -- I'm sure Berlusconi will get off (just like saturday_morning said :P), but at least he's dealing with some pain from it.
posted by symbioid at 7:29 AM on February 15, 2011


In future news: Teen Prostitution Legalized in Italy
posted by Foci for Analysis at 7:30 AM on February 15, 2011 [13 favorites]


I'm sure Berlusconi will get off... but at least he's dealing with some pain from it.

Remember kids, no glove, no love.
posted by backseatpilot at 7:35 AM on February 15, 2011 [3 favorites]


I don't know, this might be the end of him.
posted by PinkMoose at 7:36 AM on February 15, 2011


Hmm, when are they going to charge Benedict XVI with the same thing?
posted by T.D. Strange at 7:39 AM on February 15, 2011 [8 favorites]


On my NPR station this morning, this news was followed by a corporate sponsor moment for Whole Foods - which was pretty funny.
posted by Joe Beese at 7:40 AM on February 15, 2011


BBC is still reporting a 35% approval rating for Berlusconi.

You know.. like.. WTF ARE YOU THINKING, ITALY!?
posted by Ahab at 7:41 AM on February 15, 2011


> You know.. like.. WTF ARE YOU THINKING, ITALY!?

Well, dare I say that a good portion of that approval doesn't care and might even be impressed that he scored a hot young woman. That doesn't make it right, but it's still there.
posted by Burhanistan at 7:43 AM on February 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


Going to trial? Meh, whatever, I thought. Then I heard about how the trial would work. See, there's not a jury, or a single judge; it's a three-judge panel...

and all of them are women.
posted by Tomorrowful at 7:44 AM on February 15, 2011 [8 favorites]


Me: How come Egypt and Tunisia can throw off evil tyrants but Italy can't?
My wife: Because Italy has a democracy.
posted by vacapinta at 7:45 AM on February 15, 2011 [25 favorites]


WTF ARE YOU THINKING, ITALY!?

It's not clear to me what we're supposed to be outraged about.

That he cheated on his wife? That he paid for sex? That she was 17 rather than 18? That he helped her get sprung on an unrelated thievery charge?
posted by Joe Beese at 7:56 AM on February 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


Because Italy has a democracy.

More like plutocracy, maybe. There are probably few other Western "democracies" where the boss owns a massive chunk of the country and its economy.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 7:57 AM on February 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


"I don't know, this might be the end of him."

This has been said before, sadly.

The only reason that Italy has a defacto fascist leader calling the shots is because anyone else in the country couldn't get a solid, unshakable 35% of the public to support him.

The left wing of the population is larger than all the right wing, but it's so polarized by hardcore "my way or the highway" ideologues that it can't seem to hold a government together, even when it's obvious that putting up with even the most compromising centrist would be better than Berlusconi. Very unfortunate situation, really.
posted by markkraft at 7:58 AM on February 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


17 instead of 18! Whoa!

I wish Berlusconi was standing trial for the actual, serious crimes he has committed, instead of this 'sex crime' based on an arbitrary number.
posted by dunkadunc at 7:59 AM on February 15, 2011 [6 favorites]


Going to trial? Meh, whatever, I thought. Then I heard about how the trial would work. See, there's not a jury, or a single judge; it's a three-judge panel...

and all of them are women.


Unfortunately, I can see Silvio Berlusconi mulling this and deciding it's a GOOD thing.
posted by chavenet at 8:00 AM on February 15, 2011


When I imagine Silvio Berlusconi, I imagine this guy dressed like a vampire.
posted by dunkadunc at 8:05 AM on February 15, 2011


dare I say that a good portion of that approval doesn't care and might even be impressed that he scored a hot young woman

No, lots of other reasons but not that one. Paying for sex is not scoring a hot one in Italy.
posted by francesca too at 8:10 AM on February 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


Looking forward to next week's The Bugle.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 8:11 AM on February 15, 2011 [3 favorites]


I wish Berlusconi was standing trial for the actual, serious crimes he has committed, instead of this 'sex crime' based on an arbitrary number.

Al Capone ultimately was arrested for tax fraud. Didn't make him any less arrested.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:11 AM on February 15, 2011 [8 favorites]


Unfortunately, I can see Silvio Berlusconi mulling this and deciding it's a GOOD thing.

Good point. I don't want to be his lawyer when he has to explain that, no, this doesn't mean he gets a foursome.
posted by Tomorrowful at 8:14 AM on February 15, 2011


Others seem to be cavalier about this, but yes, sex with a prostitute under 18 is seriously wrong. There has to be a line that guards against underaged women being used (conscripted, forced or lured) into prostitution to protect many others. This is not the same as a mature woman making a life choice. 18 is the chosen line. Cross that line you are a goddamn pedophile.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 8:15 AM on February 15, 2011 [7 favorites]


> Cross that line you are a goddamn pedophile.

Pederast, actually.

/pedant
posted by Burhanistan at 8:16 AM on February 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


If they went after Berlusconi for actual, major crimes, it might end up revealing (a) who helped him do what and (b) who he helped do what. I'm thinking people in his administration, as well as (potentially) the Bush crew.
This underage-sex angle means those people don't risk getting incriminated.
posted by dunkadunc at 8:16 AM on February 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


Oops, I realized that pederasty applies to male-male relations. Carry on.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:18 AM on February 15, 2011


No, lots of other reasons but not that one. Paying for sex is not scoring a hot one in Italy.

Well, except that up till now, many Italians (mostly men, I imagine) have shrugged their shoulders and said, "Eh, Berlusconi just being Berlusconi."

But no, a million Italian women protesting on the streets of major cities doesn't sound like it's a score to me.
posted by blucevalo at 8:19 AM on February 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm sure Berlusconi will get off...

Apparently he already did. *rim shot*

What a sleazebag.
posted by Stagger Lee at 8:26 AM on February 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


Hmm, when are they going to charge Benedict XVI with the same thing?

Not before the Vatican is subject to Italy's laws, I assume.
posted by DU at 8:35 AM on February 15, 2011


I had no idea that Italy had elected a teen prostitute to the position of Prime Minister.
posted by kyrademon at 8:40 AM on February 15, 2011 [3 favorites]


Al Capone ultimately was arrested for tax fraud. Didn't make him any less arrested.

It's not the crime, it's the un-coverup.
posted by joe lisboa at 8:46 AM on February 15, 2011


They've already had Ilona Staller, the porn star who continued to make videos while in office. She seems to be a pretty good egg.
posted by dunkadunc at 8:46 AM on February 15, 2011


They've already had Ilona Staller, the porn star who continued to make videos while in office.

I'm not sure the two are analogous: while she may have continued to fuck Italians while in office, he continues to fuck Italy. See also: old joke about Pierre & Margaret Trudeau.
posted by yerfatma at 8:57 AM on February 15, 2011


How much of a role have Berlusconi and his media empire played in pushing the status of Italian women below that of women in Kazakhstan?
posted by mareli at 9:04 AM on February 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


See, there's not a jury, or a single judge; it's a three-judge panel...

and all of them are women.


A judicial bunga-bunga party, so to speak.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 9:22 AM on February 15, 2011


Italian Prime Minister To Stand Trial On Teen Prostitution Charges

I dunno, isn't he a bit old to be taken for a teen prositute?
posted by Gelatin at 9:26 AM on February 15, 2011


I wish Berlusconi was standing trial for the actual, serious crimes he has committed

A little background for those who want to get up to date.
posted by IndigoJones at 9:34 AM on February 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


No, lots of other reasons but not that one. Paying for sex is not scoring a hot one in Italy.

Or anywhere else, for that matter.
posted by Gelatin at 9:39 AM on February 15, 2011


Fucking standup guy, with standup friends.

"[Putin and Berlusconi's] favorite activity, however, seems to be holding joint press conferences. At one of their most memorable appearances together, in Moscow, in 2008, a Russian journalist named Natalia Melikova asked Putin about his apparent marital trouble and rumored romance with the young and indecently plastic gymnast-cum-parliamentarian Alina Kabaeva. When asked about the liaison, Putin’s face hardened. “There is not a word of truth in this story,” he said. Berlusconi, giggling, regarded the exchange. When Putin had finished answering, Berlusconi cocked his hands, and, imitating a gun, fired with a silent “Pow! Pow!” at Melikova. It had only been a year and a half since Anna Politkovskaya, an investigative journalist, had been shot in her Moscow elevator, and Melikova was reduced to tears. On the dais, Berlusconi laughed, and Putin nodded."
posted by stratastar at 9:56 AM on February 15, 2011 [9 favorites]


I read this headline through bleary, uncaffeinated eyes as "Berlusconi Indicates: Italian Prime Minister to Stand On Teen Prostitutes".

Reader, I was not surprised.
posted by Errant at 10:18 AM on February 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


The age of consent is 14 in Italy, so calling an Italian a pedophile for allegedly sleeping with a 17 year old, in Italy, is unwarranted.
Americans like to think that 18 for sex and 21 for alcohol are universal constants, but those numbers are lower in Europe and pretty much everywhere else.

Italian law requires prostitutes to be 18, but it has yet to be proved that she is a prostitute, or that they had sex. As both parties deny the sex, I can't see this prosecution succeeding, even though I enjoy the side-show as much as anyone.
posted by w0mbat at 10:23 AM on February 15, 2011 [4 favorites]


Tainted Clown or as the economist wrote in 2001 An Italian Story.
posted by adamvasco at 10:29 AM on February 15, 2011


The Mussolini of Ass (GQ)
posted by gottabefunky at 10:31 AM on February 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


"Others seem to be cavalier about this..." Good one!
posted by sutt at 10:31 AM on February 15, 2011


I will miss Berlusconi, if only for no longer being the butt of jokes on Mock the Week (although they seem to losing steam sans Frankie Boyle anyway).
posted by doctor_negative at 10:44 AM on February 15, 2011


w0mbat: "Americans like to think that 18 for sex and 21 for alcohol are universal constants, but those numbers are lower in Europe and pretty much everywhere else."

When I was in Slovenia with a group of Americans from my university study abroad program, there were a bunch of teenagers throwing a massive outdoor party in front of the squats next to our hostel. One girl (Baptist, from Virginia) said with a shocked face "But they aren't even 21!".
posted by dunkadunc at 11:01 AM on February 15, 2011


dances_with_sneetches: "18 is the chosen line. Cross that line you are a goddamn pedophile."

No, you're not. You're a sex offender under Italian law, certainly, but finding 17 year olds sexually attractive is not a symptom of pedophilia, nor even ephebophilia. 17 year olds are sexually mature. Finding them sexually attractive is totally normal (I hate the term "normal" when talking about sexual preferences, but whatever, in this case it applies).
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 11:42 AM on February 15, 2011 [3 favorites]


Americans like to think that 18 for sex and 21 for alcohol are universal constants

We do?

The alcohol thing was mostly 80's nonsense the stated goal of which could more sensibly have been achieved by raising the driving age to 21. Not every one approved the new law, by the way, but hey- it's for the children, so freedom of drinking be damned.
posted by IndigoJones at 11:50 AM on February 15, 2011


You can pass just about any law as long as it's 'for the children' and makes it illegal for people to do something, instead of it giving them a right to something.
posted by dunkadunc at 12:33 PM on February 15, 2011


He faces two charges. One is sex. The second is abuse of office. The former potentially carries two years, the latter, ten. The pre-trial assessment was expedited because the evidence was so crystal clear. It's claiming that she was Mubarak's niece that will topple him. I hope.
posted by stonepharisee at 12:55 PM on February 15, 2011


From the NYT:
Piero Longo, a lawyer for Mr. Berlusconi, called the judge’s decision “exactly what we expected.” Noting that Mr. Berlusconi would be tried before a panel of three female judges, he said: “Great. Women are always appreciated, sometimes even agreeable,” the center-left daily La Repubblica reported.
posted by electroboy at 1:10 PM on February 15, 2011


The GQ article gottabefunky linked is a pretty good read:

...as a result of that law, Berlusconi's personal criminal-defense lawyer has been made an MP. Several women who used to be showgirls on his TV stations were placed on the party's roster, and another four were on the roster for the European Parliament. Berlusconi's physician is an MP now, as are a number of his former executives. The people aligned for no greater purpose than to bring Silvio Berlusconi down say it is like when Caligula made his horse a member of the Senate. But that's the most vile sort of untruth!
posted by benzenedream at 3:11 PM on February 15, 2011


Isn't this Californication's new plot?
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 5:52 PM on February 15, 2011


The Italian media do not allow public opinion to be formed in an objective and impartial way.
posted by adamvasco at 6:11 AM on February 16, 2011


« Older PC Gamer: Do you still think social games are “evi...  |  Photographer Irna Werning's pr... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments