Cagliari

Man arrested for using Facebook to arrange sex with minors

Girls 'sold' into prostitution in nightclubs

Man arrested for using Facebook to arrange sex with minors

Cagliari, Sardinia, April 9 - Police on Tuesday arrested a 45-year-old man who used Facebook to meet underage girls and who then forced them into sexual acts and prostitution. Vito Sodi, an electrician from Monastir, a town near the Sardinian capital of Cagliari, was arrested by a unit of the Carabinieri police and accused of aggravated sexual assault, sexual acts with minors and prostitution. According to the victims, Sodi would connect with minors on the social network and then invite them to meet. At meetings he would then threaten to kill them unless they performed sexual acts and in some cases he even "sold" them to Cagliari nightclubs, where they were then forced to prostitute themselves. Most of the victims were little girls, including one nine-year-old. The arrests come after a two-year investigation that began when Carabinieri received the first, anonymous complaints. Sodi made things worse for himself when during a round of police questioning he showed a video to the authorities in which he was seen with a little girl who he said was his girlfriend who he brought with him "around to night clubs". Despite the death threats, the girls - identified through collaboration between police and social services - came forward to file complaints against Sodi. The preliminary hearing judge, Giampaolo Casula, granted prosecutors' requests for precautionary custody for Sodi as he had continued to use Facebook to arrange new encounters even as he was being investigated. A search of Sodi's house turned up CDs, DVDs and videocassettes which authorities suspect may contain video footage of the sexual violence.

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