A 60-year-old man who was caught in bed with an 11-year-old-girl has been freed from prison after a judge decided he and the girl had had a 'romantic relationship'. Yes, you read that correctly!
The supreme court in the southern Italian town of Catanzaro ruled that it was a 'real relationship', according to Italian news website TGCom24.
Police found the man and the girl naked in bed together when they raided his seaside villa.
The young girl is from a disadvantaged background and was in the care of a man who works for the town's social services department.
The man was given a five-year sentence for sexual violence against a minor, as the age of consent is 14 and rises to 16 when one of the partners is in position of authority or care over the younger participant.
But the child sex victim reportedly claimed to be in love with the elderly man and the court ruled the pair have a 'romantic relationship'.
The case is being sent back to the Catanzaro court for a retrial and there are expected to be several levels of appeal before a sentence is confirmed.
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