The tough part about having a legal team in Italy, is the time difference and when they deem it “a good time” to share important news with you. I had become accustomed to the 6AM emails that would sucker punch me on my way to the gym or while I was getting ready for the day. But on this particular November day, I was finishing my coffee and inbox cleanup at work, when my cell phone rang with the telltale foreign country area code (011…). [photo credit]
My attorney told me the Prosecutor had closed the case. This confused me briefly because I interpreted it as her deciding to stop the case. What my attorney meant to say was “she had concluded her investigation and rendered an opinion.” And he followed it by saying things had “become very serious for Mr. XX (attacker) because the judge has increased the charges.”
I was stunned. But scared to let the smile, that was slowly tugging at my mouth, appear. He went on to say she had been so impressed with my interview back in June that my words and the collected evidence made her feel very good about moving ahead with the following charges: rape and assault. My smile ceased. “Good Lord!” I thought, “She must have misunderstood me! I was not raped. What a disaster!”
But then my attorney explained the charge of rape is the same as sexual assault, an interchangeable term in Italian law. Hmm. I had to percolate on that. What this all meant though was that Marco was now looking at 12 years in prison, instead of five. The upgrade of attempted sexual assault to actual sexual assault and the added charge of assault – for the punch to my nose – was a pleasant surprise as well. And I let that feeling of vindication wash over me.
I could not concentrate the rest of the day as my attorney told me he’d be sending me the witness statements from all who spoke with the police, including Marco. And that wasn’t event the best part. The best part was knowing that just as I had received a phone call to give me the good news, Marco had received a call to tell him the bad news. I sat there imagining his stupid face. The surprise. The realization that I wasn’t going away. Knowing that he was having to think about me and starting to understand what a huge error he made trying to harm me. That he was worse off and facing real jail time. My brain snapped thought to thought all day.
And when I finally settled down a bit, I did exactly what the occasion called for: I sent an email to “the girls” and told them to meet me at our favorite pub to celebrate.
Editor’s Note: I will post a sample of the witness statements later this week.