back to article Public masturbation not a crime declares Italy’s top court

A 61-year-old Italian convicted of public masturbation has had the threat of hard time lifted, after judges declared the dirty old goat’s favoured pastime isn’t actually a crime in the country. The case arose after sexagenarian Pietro L was nabbed “pulling his member” and practising “autoeroticism” in front of female students …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Oh stop

    good to see they are singled handedly cracking down on this sort of thing, tossing fines out was going to rub some up the wrong way so they had to make a fist of it and pull the rule book out.

    The judges ejaculations are surely on the money and it will be a relief to all concerned, at least those interested in the matter in hand.

    I can see others rising up against the ruling and it may take some beating down, lets just hope the culmination of events doesn't lead to a slippery slope.

    1. Chewi
      Coffee/keyboard

      Re: Oh stop

      Your fine piece deserves a handshake!

      (don't even think about saying my little snippet does too ;)

      1. Rich 11 Silver badge

        Re: Oh stop

        I want to know what the Bishop of Rome thinks about the sentence being bashed down.

    2. Ralph B

      Re: Oh stop

      How long did it take you to knock that one out?

    3. Crisp

      Re: Oh stop

      He had some balls to appeal the fine. I'm surprised he pulled it off successfully.

    4. Fatman
      Thumb Up

      Re: Oh stop

      WELL DONE!!!

  2. David Austin

    Legislative Decree 8

    How'd that one slip through? Either the lawmakers really don't read things they sign, or someone with a vested interest in public exhibitionisem has a lot of power: How sure are we Berlusconi's out of the political picture, still?

    1. Baldy50

      Re: Legislative Decree 8

      Pull the other one!

      1. Montreal Sean

        Re: Legislative Decree 8

        "Pull the other one!"

        Nope, that would be inappropriate and could blow up in your face.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Legislative Decree 8

      Italy has already a "jail space" problem and has been fined itself because of it - too many people in the same cell, etc. etc - and many people weren't sent to prison anyway because of it.

      Thereby some lesser "crimes" now just mean a fine and not jail time (unless reiteration and some aggravating factors) - but fines are much heavier now. After all today most teenagers who would see a man performing that act would take a photo with their mobe and post it somewhere, I'm afraid.

      They also avoided the internet could be jailed: article 661 "abuse of people credulity" is no longer a penal offense with jail time.

  3. Teiwaz

    Puritan values are not Fine or dandy...

    Never get away that lightly in the English speaking world. If prosecution could prove a child was two streets away at the time, you could see the sentence upped another couple of years.

    Not unexpectedly, the UK and the US hold much the same values. I remember a time when the more permissive countries were mostly those that the reformation had broken the yoke. Now all it takes for Police to take interest here is some 'ole doll' to spot a cyclist in tight shorts.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      WTF?

      Re: Puritan values are not Fine or dandy...

      I hardly being prosecuted for tossing off in public a puritan value.

      1. Teiwaz

        Re: Puritan values are not Fine or dandy...

        I hardly being prosecuted for tossing off in public a puritan value.

        Maybe not, but Police interest over a matter of tight cycling shorts I would call puritan, mostly fuelled by the tabloids prurient interests, masked by false outrage in many cases what else would you call excessive outrage over abuse cases while counting down to when a child actress turns 18?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Puritan values are not Fine or dandy...

      Of course there was a time when the catholic church considered that masturbation was a worse sin than cavorting with a professional practitioner and so encouraged brothels as being the lesser of 2 evils.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Puritan values are not Fine or dandy...

        "[...] when the catholic church considered that masturbation was a worse sin [...]"

        It is interesting that the biblical sin of Onan had nothing to do with masturbation. It was coitus interruptus - as he did not want to father children by Tamar. She was his dead older brother's wife.

        He was forced into the relationship by his father following a religious law. His rebellion cost him his life as he was purportedly killed by the Hebrew god for disobeying that law.

        1. Rich 11 Silver badge

          Re: Puritan values are not Fine or dandy...

          Jehovah is a right wanker.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Puritan values are not Fine or dandy...

          > he did not want to father children by Tamar. She was his dead older brother's wife.

          Well, not much chance of getting pregnant. Maybe Onan wanted to be extra sure though.

          On the other hand, I'm surprised his bro did not object to Onan's banging of his dead wife.

      2. Teiwaz

        Re: Puritan values are not Fine or dandy...

        Of course there was a time when the catholic church considered that masturbation was a worse sin than cavorting with a professional practitioner and so encouraged brothels as being the lesser of 2 evils.

        I think professionals cost a lot (even then), most could probably only afford a financially desperate amateur.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Puritan values are not Fine or dandy...

          "I think professionals cost a lot (even then), [...]"

          Not necessarily. High class courtesans would have been expensive - but the local brothel would probably have been as affordable as any other social "vice".

          Louis Malle's film "Le souffle au coeur" (1971) set in 1954 - illustrates an apparently common practice of a boy being treated by his family to a brothel visit on his 15th birthday.

          In the 1950s Italian teenage boys casually prostituted themselves with men - in order to earn enough money to visit a brothel afterwards.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Puritan values are not Fine or dandy...

            > an apparently common practice of a boy being treated by his family to a brothel visit on his 15th birthday.

            Yup. Still the case as late as the late 70s / early 80s in some conservative parts of Italy.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Puritan values are not Fine or dandy...

              Just in the 70s brothels were already illegal in Italy (not prostitution, but public brothels). They were shutdown by "Legge Merlin" (Merlin Act), in 1958.

    3. Hollerithevo

      Re: Puritan values are not Fine or dandy...

      It wasn't so much that he was doing it in public but that he was doing it deliberately in front of female students that bothers me. You jokingly speak of 'a child two streets away' but this wasn't the case. If it were your teenaged daughter right in front of him? That is what we are talking about.

      It's a well-known ploy for men to expose themselves either to intimidate women or as a sexual thrill. I am not to keen that my teenaged nieces would have to put up with a guy playing the piccolo because he's allowed to scare them or get off on their fear or distress, or both.

      He wants to sit in the corner of a building out of sight, fine. But that's not what he was doing.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Puritan values are not Fine or dandy...

        "It's a well-known ploy for men to expose themselves either to intimidate women or as a sexual thrill."

        Feminist friends of mine said that when it happened to them they just pointed and started laughing.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Puritan values are not Fine or dandy...

      > Now all it takes for Police to take interest here is some 'ole doll' to spot a cyclist in tight shorts.

      Well, to be honest ... how fat a cyclist are we talking about?

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Puritan values are not Fine or dandy...

      The presence of minors is an aggravating factor and it could have been jailed. Probably the age of the university students avoided him the jail.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    10/10 for the various innuendos in that article.

    My favourite award winner is this guy: http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2013/12/30/andrew-frey-meth-masturbating_n_4518225.html

    1. TRT Silver badge

      I'm reminded of the ST:TNG episode...

      where the aliens communicate by metaphor and allegory. Perhaps the old bloke was speaking of Onan and Tamar in Judea?

  5. Jemma

    Lovely, reminds me of a time in secondary school music class when the obligatory special needs kid did the five knuckle shuffle (tackle out) for a full two hour double period.. Shame it was back in the day when there weren't 40 smartphones per class of "30, minister, honest"... Someone would have stopped him, but he kept on grunting away for the whole lesson...

    Mind you very soon after that the school stopped taking in the "specials".

    I can't listen today to strawberry fields without cringing even now..

    1. Teiwaz

      I can't listen today to strawberry fields without cringing even now..

      You got to listen to 'popular music' in music at school!!?

      All we got was forced renditions of 'she'll be coming round the mountain' (Woops! almost wrote 'she'll be coming round the mouth' there) or some other shit on stinky recorders in which everyone was seemingly intent on playing with thumbs only.

      1. Jemma

        Trust me, the enjoyment begins to fade when you have to listen to and discuss the same 6 bars of something for two hours twice a week, it's even less fun when you are two chairs away from some off beat grunting that sounds like a warthog with sinus trouble..

        Still sometimes we could enjoy the pleasures of the Atari "music computer" usually by spending a whole lesson invoking the "tap it on the top" infinite reboot loop..

        The fact any of us passed was a miracle.

        1. Teiwaz

          Sounds like post 'National Curriculum' Music class.

          Now you've made it sound like your special classmate did the off beat grunting every music lesson - maybe he thought he was a metronome.

          Same six bars for two hours twice a week - I think I see the real reason for a 'strawberry fields' aversion (assuming classmate was not always stroking his oboe). I had the same aversion treatment on team sports - football in particular.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Boys back row masturbation has probably been a feature of classrooms since whenever the sitting arrangements gave some cover. Apparently choir surplices facilitated similar amusements during the sermon.

          One talented boy in the 1960s even documented the activity by drawing an animated cartoon using a "flick" block of paper. While it earned him many kudos from his peers - the headmaster inevitably was alerted and reacted with his cane.

          1. Rich 11 Silver badge

            and reacted with his cane.

            I hope that isn't a euphemism for something despicable, but merely a reference to violence being arbitrarily inflicted upon the body of a child.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              "I hope that isn't a euphemism [...]"

              It is presumed that the standard corporal punishment was meted out. He certainly wasn't expelled. The boy went on to be a teacher at an Art College.

              It is one of those school incidents which are possibly only ever retrospectively acknowledged between the perpetrator and their close pals. Attempting to nail them down for the school's historical record elicits blank stares of amnesia.

              It is unlikely that the headmaster had any other abusive tendencies apart from institutional summary violence against boys. Even the teacher that was very suspect apparently confined himself to being a tad too physical with the Upper VIth - as per "The History Boys".

            2. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              > I hope that isn't a euphemism for something despicable

              Comment of the week right there.

    2. Version 1.0 Silver badge

      RE: Classroom shuffle

      I remember when (we're talking 60's here) at least half the class was competing in several different events - volume, repetition, location etc on a daily basis. It seemed pretty harmless at the time but nowadays, if you see a kid staring at the desk in class you assume that they have their phone out.

      How times change.

      1. Montreal Sean

        Re: RE: Classroom shuffle

        "It seemed pretty harmless at the time but nowadays, if you see a kid staring at the desk in class you assume that they have their phone out.

        How times change."

        They might be up to the same old tricks, but now with the aid of web porn...

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Headmaster

      > Lovely, reminds me of a time in secondary school ...

      A retired teacher friend of mine tells of how he once caught a 12 year old "demonstrating his advanced physical development" to his mates during a lesson and sent him down to the headmaster. The head duly admonished the child and wrote a letter of complaint to the boy's parents. Unfortunately the secretary then sent it to the wrong parents by mistake. Ooops.

  6. wolfetone Silver badge

    Fantastic. We all know masturbation reduces the risk of prostate cancer in men, so now us men can gaily keep cancer away without the location* being a problem.

    *if on holiday in Italy.

  7. BigG
    Trollface

    Imagine how money the state could raise...

    ............in the queue outside the Apple store on "release" day

  8. Tikimon
    Devil

    I suggest a different reaction from viewers

    Lay off the shock, horror, and outrage. It only encourages them. Instead, point and laugh hysterically. Mock and make fun of his wee willy winkie and/or technique. Hurl rocks. Take phone pix (or pretend to) while announcing what pathetic and insulting descriptions you'll tag the photo with.

    Of course, for some people that will be arousing, but on average it might take the wind out of their sails.

  9. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

    That's not a proper Italian pizza in the picture.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "That's not a proper Italian pizza in the picture."

      ..but was it a proper Italian pizzle?

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Facepalm

    In the home of the wankmobile ...

    Italy is the country of the likes of Ferrari, Lamborghini, Maserati. Clearly public masturbation is not merely permitted but admired!

  11. The Nazz

    Better value than a fine .....

    Surely he could have garnered much assistance from the (impoverished?) students for much less than the fine of €3,420?

    Many times over.

  12. Cynic_999

    Someone should

    take that man in hand and straighten him out.

  13. Commswonk

    Raising the tone... marginally

    American writer, poet, & satirist Dorothy Parker had a parrot that she called Onan...

    Because it spilled its seed upon the ground.

  14. MrDamage Silver badge
    1. Old Tom

      Re: Obligatory

      I'll raise thee this then.

  15. Yes Me Silver badge
    IT Angle

    The angle

    A few late comments:

    1. The top right corner of every comment says "Report abuse." That seems remarkably appropriate.

    2. The story says "The US takes a much firmer hand." That explains so much.

    3. Is the IT angle that the Register expects IT people to be abnormally interested in this topic? If so, kindly explain.

    1. MrDamage Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: The angle

      3) It's in the Bootnotes section. Stop complaining about the IT angle of a story that is published in the non-IT section of the website.

  16. ZippedyDooDah

    Good heavens!! Didn't he realise that every sperm is sacred?

  17. Unicornpiss
    Joke

    Well..

    If it went to trial, there's a chance he would beat it in court..

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Highest concentration of wankers ever.

    Lawyers, judges and an actual wankist.

    Also thanks to the Italians hard work we can finally quantify the statement "worth less than a wank".

    A solid public service pulled off indeed.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I'm sorry...

    Has Samantha started working for ElReg?

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