Grazie to Italy’s Supreme Court, which recently ruled that public masturbation is not a crime, so long as it’s not in the presence of minors. The ruling overturned a conviction by a lower court of a 69-year-old man identified as “Pietro L,” who had been sentenced to three months in prison and fined $3,600 after being caught doing the five-knuckle shuffle in front of a group of students in Southern Italy. (In his own defense, Pietro told the court that he only did this kind of thing “occasionally” and that since he was wanking around dusk, there was “reduced visibility.”) Pietro’s lawyer appealed the guilty verdict, and the country’s highest court, in Rome, decided in his favor, ruling that since the Italian Parliament had passed a law in 2015 “decriminalizing the offense of lurking in places frequented by girls in order to be seen masturbating,” Pietro hadn’t broken any laws.
Not everyone is happy with the ruling. Some politicians accused Prime Minister Matteo Renzi of going soft on perverts. Parliament member Elvira Savino from the centerright Forza Italia party remarked, “The Renzi government has never given equal opportunities much notice, but to save from the prison cells people who commit obscene acts in front of women is really unjustifiable.” But picture the other side of the coin, Ms. Savino: Beautiful women polishing their pearls in front of the Vatican. Bellissimo!