Italian police on Jan. 11 raided the homes of 18 young men and teenage boys on suspicion of being involved in sexual assaults during New Year’s Eve celebrations in Milan.
Police raided the homes of the suspects, aged between 15 and 21, in Milan and Turin after nine women came forward in the days after New Year’s Eve to report on being sexually assaulted in front of Milan’s Cathedral on Piazza del Duomo.
Police believe more women were assaulted.
According to the police, the suspects were foreigners or Italians of North African origin, drawing parallels to the 2015 mass sexual assaults in the German city of Cologne.
Police identified the suspects using mobile phone footage, video surveillance footage, testimony of alleged victims and witnesses, and analysis of social media posts.
Police also used facial recognition software to find the suspects.
The victims, including two German women, reported similar stories of being dragged into the crowd, shoved, ripped off their clothes, and groped.
One of the German women said police officers were present in the piazza but they did not intervene.
“I hope they find them and that justice is done for us and all of the other girls that were molested that night,” one of the German women told Italian news agency ANSA.
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