> ANSA English > News

TV prankster arrested for sex with minors says he's in love

Paolini nabbed for videos of him having sex with two 16-yr-olds

13 November, 17:19
TV prankster arrested for sex with minors says he's in love (ANSA) - Rome, November 13 - Italian TV prankster and safe-sex advocate Gabriele Paolini, who was arrested Sunday after police found self-recorded videos of himself having sex with two underage boys, told a judge at his preliminary hearing Wednesday that he is in love with one of the boys and that the relationship is consensual.

''I knew he was underage. Our relationship is consensual.

There was never money involved, just a lot of love'', 39-year-old Paolini, who is being held on charges of paying for sex with a minor and making child pornography, told the judge at his three-hour hearing. Paolini, whose antics usually involve waving condoms behind unwitting live reporters, took pictures and videotaped himself having sex with the two boys in a Rome cellar.

Police seized an amateur video from a Rome lab showing Paolini having sex with two Italian 16-year-old students. The video also shows Paolini explicitly propositioning a third 16-year-old boy, a Romanian.

''That was a joke'', defense lawyers said, adding that since that particular video was made, their client has fallen in love and been in a monogamous relationship with one of the boys only.

Paolini told the judge one of the two minors has been his boyfriend for the past eight months, and denied inducing anyone to prostitution or that he intended to use the videos for commercial purposes.

''We love each other. He introduced me to his mother, and I introduced him to my parents. We went swimming at the military officers' club, where we played cards and had tea with my parents'', he said. ''I have never had orgies with minors. I made the videos for private use. I have always loved to document my life''.

Paolini, who is a high-profile public figure in Italy, stated he met one of the boys on the street.

''He asked for my autograph, and our friendship took off from there''. Prosecutors allege that the boys, all of whom have been identified, were having sex for money, and that they knew they were being filmed.

They are all from middle-class families, and occasionally hooked up with Paolini to make some extra cash to buy trendy clothes, according to the prosecution.

Paolini, who once called for pedophiles to be put to death, allegedly lured underage victims via the Internet.

''Having had a bad experience when I was 15, I can tell you that people who abuse children are ruthless and unscrupulous, and that is why they deserve the death penalty'', Paolini reportedly wrote on Facebook in 2012.

The three boys are in the custody of their families and will be interviewed by investigators in the presence of a psychologist. Investigators are combing through Paolini's computer and other files, trying to work out if any other minors are involved.

''Paolini never paid for sex. He slept only with his boyfriend, and made the videos for his own private use. There was never an attempt or intent to sell them. One of the videos even shows them mutually declaring their love'', defense lawyers said. The judge is to rule on a defense motion to release Paolini into house arrest in the custody of his parents.