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The North Star Online

The official news site of J.W. North High School

The North Star Online

The official news site of J.W. North High School

The North Star Online

“Why are you so upset, it wasn’t even ten seconds”

Paolo Camili, White Lotus Actor, captions his video: ‘La “palpata breve”, se minore di 10 secondi, non e considerata reato’ Which translates to: the “brief groping” if less than 10 seconds, is not considered a crime.

In April of 2022, in Rome, Italy, a female seventeen-year-old high school student walked up the stairs with her friend. All of a sudden, the seventeen-year-old girl felt her trousers fall, a hand touching her behind and grabbing her underwear. As soon as she turned around, Antonio Avola, a sixty-six-year-old school caretaker (janitor), said, “Love, you know I was joking,”. (

The seventeen-year-old student reported this situation to the police. Antonio admitted that he groped her, but he claimed that it was just a “joke”. Of course, people wanted him to be sentenced, but unfortunately, he was not. According to several judges, the groping was not assault because it lasted less than ten seconds. A ruling was then made, that if someone were to grope another person, but it did not last ten seconds, the groping is not seen as a crime in Italy.

Once this disgusting ruling was announced, there was an immediate uproar in the media because of an actor. The White Lotus actor, Paolo Camilli, made a video on Instagram about this situation. Due to his post, people on social media started to become very aware of this situation in Italy. That is when people started the uproar of people being infuriated with this law. 

“I think the law is absolutely disgusting. Why are we legalizing sexual assault?” said sophomore Nathaniel Suarez. 

Soon there were social media influencers making videos of them groping themselves, while a ten-second timer runs in the background which dramatizes the action’s length.

The seventeen-year-old student at the center of this controversy was obviously upset that she did not receive any justice. According to the seventeen-year-old student, she fears that the judges’ ruling will deter girls and women from coming forward if they are subjected to such attacks. She said that she feels betrayed by the school and by the justice system. She later states how this is not justice, and honestly, it is quite the opposite. (

Many things are wrong with the situation between the seventeen-year-old student and the caretaker. Antonio Avola should not have been dismissed from any sort of punishment for his sickening actions, especially when he admitted to them, and claimed that it was just a joke. 

There are many questions that arise from this whole situation. Does this mean that people in Italy will not come forward if they get groped because they know nothing will happen to the offender? Does this mean that random creeps in Italy can lay their hands on anyone they want since they can grope someone from one second to 9.9 seconds without getting prosecuted because of the ten-second defense?  

“…I think there should be no time limit for non-consensual groping and it shouldn’t be allowed at all,” said freshman Clare Baaske.

Italy has had problems like this in the past since doesn’t have the best laws protecting women from sexual harassment. The EU (European Union) Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA) said that 70% of Italian women who had suffered from harassment between 2016 and 2021 did not report the incident. ( The statistics of Italian women suffering from sexual harassment are bad enough because Italy already struggles with situations regarding sexual harassment, but the ten-second law in Italy will most likely cause women to struggle even more. 

Overall, this ten-second law in Italy is disgusting and alarming. The seventeen-year-old student who was groped had no justice at all, and there will be more victims who may also get no justice. It is fortunate that people are starting to get upset over this law because groping should be illegal. As a society, we can’t necessarily ask to change this law, but protesting and educating others on the matter is one step forward to dealing with this law.

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Sonia Acedo-Lopez, Reporter

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