Italy overturns controversial bottom-pinching ruling

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Italy's High Court has overturned a controversial ruling that decreed that pinching a woman's bottom was not a crime.

The new decision, by a panel of judges sitting in Rome, means that pinching a woman's bottom is classed as sexual assault.

The judges said: ''Fondling buttocks, unquestionably constitutes a sexual act because the perpetrator commits a substantive and concrete intrusion into the victim's sexual sphere. Such acts, albeit superficial, amount to assault.''

The new ruling is a complete U-turn on a decision issued in January 2001 which said that it was not a crime for a man to pinch or touch a woman's bottom provided it was a ''sudden and isolated action.''
 
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