The Italian Almanac

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About Jeans

Sex offenders can't claim they couldn't have abused a victim because she was wearing jeans, Italy's Supreme Court said, revisiting its touchiest subject. Upholding a year's jail term against a 37-year-old Padua man who sexually assaulted his girlfriend's 16-year-old daughter, the court said: ''the fact that the girl was wearing jeans was not a hindrance to touching her private parts. Jeans cannot be likened to a chastity belt''.

The court has been careful to keep to a firm line on the jeans-sex subject in recent years after sparking international outrage in 1999. In that verdict, later overturned, it let a rapist off because his victim was wearing tight jeans. It acquitted a driving instructor of raping a young client because, it judged, ''it is common knowledge that jeans cannot be removed without the active collaboration of the person wearing them''.