This morning, Tuesday 24 January, the Brescia State Police enforced a disqualification order by the investigating judge against Stefania Fogliata, a federal rhythmic gymnastics instructor, for the crime of ill-treatment aggravated by the young age of the offended persons; the facts would have occurred from 2017 to today.
In September last year, under the coordination of the Public Prosecutor’s Office, the Mobile agents had collected the confidences of a mother regarding the alleged illegal conduct of the coach of the Nemesi Rhythmic Gymnastics Academy in Calcinato, affiliated to the “Italian Gymnastics Federation” , against daughters and other young gymnasts aged between 10 and 14 years.
An intense investigative activity then began, with the collection – in the course of protected hearings – of the testimonies of the alleged victims, videotaped and assisted by a psychologist from the ASST of Brescia. Over twenty-five people were heard, including victims, witnesses, parents of the gymnasts, colleagues of the suspect, psychologists to whom some athletes had turned, as well as the leaders of the national federation themselves.
An analysis of telephones and telematic devices was also carried out, thanks to which traces of previous messaging chats and video footage of some episodes were recovered, sometimes made by the suspect herself. According to the assessment expressed in the ordinance, the elements collected would have confirmed the circumstantial picture and would explain why some girls have abandoned the academy, even in the face of prospects of great sporting success, even in the international arena.
There would be a total of 8 underage victims of the instructor. The investigating judge recognized the crime of ill-treatment (aggravated by the minor age of the victims), in a para-family context such as that of a sports school, in which the young girls were entrusted to Fogliata for education, sporting but also scholastic reasons, since it was a center semi-residential in which the athletes spent the whole day, between training and education commitments, from 8 in the morning until late in the evening.
The order of the investigating judge provides for a temporary ban on exercising the coaching profession throughout the country for one year. The criminal proceeding is in the preliminary investigation phase and the recipient of the precautionary measure – who holds the quality of suspect – will be able to assert her reasons in the subsequent procedural stages. The investigations are still ongoing and will continue in order to ascertain the involvement of other minors, as well as to investigate the dimension of the phenomenon.