Italian police officers investigated over alleged rape of USA students

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 vehicle. The State Department said it was taking the allegations “very seriously”. Neighbours heard no cries for help, the reports said.

The women were examined by hospital doctors, who noted one was still drunk and both were highly distressed, according to La Repubblica daily.

The alleged assault took place in Florence on Wednesday night, when the two women claim two on-duty Carabinieri police officers raped them.

As well, the U.S. Consul General in Florence, Benjamin Wohlauer, met with Florence Police Commissioner Alberto Intini on Friday morning, ANSA reported. Four of the officers left shortly afterwards, and the remaining two offered the Americans a lift home.

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

The four are captured on video surveillance footage in the vehicle.

Florence has more USA university branches than nearly all Italian cities and there are also very many schools for foreigners learning Italian.

Florence is known for having one of the highest rates of reported sexual assaults in Italy, according to government statistics.

In January 2016, American woman Ashley Olsen was killed in her flat sparking lots of media attention.

A court in Florence convicted a Senegalese man of murdering the woman and sentenced him to 30 years in prison, later that year.

The 35-year-old had been strangled and suffered skull fractures.

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