Fencing champion abused by three athletes during training camp

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Fencing champion abused by three athletes during training camp

A gang rape during a retreat for very young athletes in Chianciano Terme. The victim was a 17-year-old fencer from the Uzbek Federation, the accused are three athletes from the Italian junior team. Two of them are now under investigation, a third is being examined by the Juvenile Prosecutor's Office. The girl's story to the investigators is detailed.

The abuse allegedly occurred on the night between 4 and 5 August. When the young athlete wakes up she finds herself in a room with the three boys: one was sleeping next to her, another was getting dressed. She is still dazed but she hears the two already awake shouting at her and laughing loudly. She doesn't know how or why she ended up there and tries to move to escape. But he can't do it right away, he has severe pain everywhere.

Eventually she gets up and goes back to the room she shares with a teammate. There, finally safe, she realizes what has happened to her and tearfully confides it to her friend: she was raped. The two young people under investigation, however, deny all charges. “They declare themselves innocent, having never used violence against anyone: we are awaiting the decisions of the Judicial Authority”, says the lawyer Enrico De Martino in a note, on behalf of the defense team of the two athletes

. The violence, according to what was reported in the girl's complaint, occurred during a Federscherma retreat in which several teams from various Federations participated, with male and female athletes. The fencer, who wears the colors of Uzbekistan and who had reached the top of the world rankings in her category, tried, immediately after the gang violence, to reconstruct with her roommate what had happened. His memories are stuck at an athletes' party in a bar the night before: he remembers having had a drink. He only became aware of what had happened when he woke up. The girl calls her mother who rushes to Chianciano and decides to take her daughter to the emergency room: it is there that the 17-year-old reports the sexual violence. During the investigations it was established that the athlete had traces of alcohol and drugs in his blood. Furthermore, the magistrates took steps to make forensic copies of the data in the cell phones of the suspects to look for confirmation of the story such as photos or videos. But the fencer's lawyer, Luciano Guidarelli, denounces “inertia on the part of the Prosecutor's Office, which did not even activate the red code, and of the Federscherma which did not take any action against the athletes under investigation.

“When the girl realized what she had suffered, she notified her roommate and her mother who immediately arrived in Italy. Federscherma was immediately notified but we never had any feedback on measures towards the athletes involved or on solidarity towards the victim”. Furthermore, the lawyer continues, “the fact that the suspects were not sanctioned or suspended from competitive activity made it possible that the young woman met them during competitions and other retreats with consequent trauma”. The Italian Fencing Federation, however, underlines that it has had “promptly, and on several occasions, direct discussions with the judiciary to ascertain the situation and the developments of the investigations and also filed the nomination of the FIS for a civil party in any proceedings, should it be ordered by ordinary justice”. “We immediately took action with the ordinary and sports judiciary – underlines the FIS – and we will evaluate all the necessary actions to protect its image and defend what it says every day in cinemas throughout Italy”. The mayor of Chianciano Terme, Andrea Marchetti, also announced that the Municipality will take civil action against the accused “once identified”, and expressed “full support and solidarity with the victim and the family”.

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