SHARE
COPY LINK

CRIME

Italian police uncover gang that ‘brainwashed kids and sold them to foster parents’

Italian police have arrested 18 people, including a mayor, doctors and social workers, for allegedly brainwashing vulnerable children into thinking their parents had abused them so they could then be sold to foster parents.

Italian police uncover gang that 'brainwashed kids and sold them to foster parents'
Police in northern Italy say authorities led children to reject their own parents so they could be rehomed for cash. File photo: Romain Lafabregue/AFP

Police in the northern city of Reggio Emilia made the arrests after an investigation started in 2018 revealed an alleged network of carers who used methods including electroshock to make the children believe they had been sexually abused.

The network then allegedly gave the children to foster families in exchange for cash, while keeping gifts and letters sent to the children by their real parents hidden in a warehouse that was discovered by police.

READ ALSO: One in every 100 children in Italy is abused

The alleged abuse was reported by Italian media and confirmed to AFP by police in Bibbiano, near Reggio Emilia, on Thursday.

The accused include psychotherapists working for a social work association in Moncalieri, near Turin, and the mayor of Bibbiano.

“These accusations, if confirmed, are frightening and shocking,” Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said at the G20 meeting in Japan.


A church in the town of Bibbiano. Photo: SIG SG 510CC0, Wikimedia

To brainwash the children, those arrested allegedly forged child-like drawings with sexual connotations and used electroshock therapy as a “little memory machine” to create fake abuse memories, while the therapists are accused of dressing up as “wicked” children's story characters.

The probe, codenamed 'Angels and Demons', revealed a scheme to “pass off as a model welfare system for abused minors what was in reality an illegal business to the children's detriment,” La Repubblica newspaper reported.

“According to investigators, the aim of the arrested group was to take children away from families in difficult social situations and to give them, for money, to other parents,” said the Corriere della Sera newspaper.

Some of the foster parents have been accused of sexually abusing the children they paid money for, La Repubblica reported.

Police declined to say how many children were involved, or of what age.

Hundreds of thousands of euros were involved, Italian media reported. 

Member comments

  1. This is too bizarre for me to immediately accept. After the McMartin Preschool debacle, I’m much more hesitant to immediately believe these crazy conspiracies… unless of course it is about Hillary Clinton in the basement of a pizza parlor. Then, I’m all in. 😉

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.

CRIME

 Italian police arrest mafia member after three women killed in Rome

Italian police on Saturday arrested a mafia member suspected of killing two alleged Chinese prostitutes and a Colombian sex worker in Rome, local media reported.

 Italian police arrest mafia member after three women killed in Rome

The bodies of the two Chinese women were discovered in a residential building in the upmarket Prati district on Thursday morning, while the body of the South American was found in an apartment in the same neighbourhood an hour later.

All three victims were stabbed, according to Italian media reports.

According to the Corriere della Sera newspaper, footage from surveillance cameras allowed police to identify 51-year-old Giandavide De Pau, who had been prosecuted in the past for drug trafficking and sexual assault.

The suspect is reportedly a member of a mafia clan headed by Michele Senese, who is currently serving a life sentence. De Pau is believed to have been one of Senese’s closest collaborators, acting as his personal driver and handyman.

In 2008 and 2011, the suspect had also spent time in a psychiatric hospital.

It is unknown whether the suspected killer was carrying out a mafia hit or acting alone, possibly under the influence of drugs, which were found at the home of some family members where he is believed to have sought refuge after the police manhunt got underway, Corriere della Sera reported.

Several newspapers had warned of a possible “serial killer” in the Italian capital.

The body of one of the Chinese victims was spotted by a neighbour where it lay, naked on a landing. The woman, believed to be in her 40s, had suffered head and stomach injuries, the newspaper said.

When police entered her apartment, they found the body of the second Chinese woman.

Nobody in the building appeared to have heard the murders take place, according to residents.

“Everybody knew there was a house of ill repute here, I’d see people arriving at 2:00 am, 3:00 am,” a woman who lived in the building told reporters.

The body of the Colombian, who was 65, was found by a friend, Corriere della Sera said.

SHOW COMMENTS