A 13-year-old boy was allegedly raped in the southern town of Giugliano by a group of 11 fellow minors, including some who are under 14, sources said Friday.
Carabinieri police started investigating the case after the victim's mother reported the abuse in January in the small town near Naples.
Eight of the minors suspected of involvement have been taken into care. There were several episodes of abuse, possibly over a period of several years. The most recent dates back to January.
The 13-year-old boy suffers from a slight learning disability.
The crimes occurred in several places in the historic center of Giugliano. Some of the perpetrators reportedly come from disadvantaged families. The mayor of Giugliano, Antonio Poziello, called the incidents "terrible", nothing that "the idea that a 'gang' of minors had committed" the acts "leaves one dismayed". "The town council has set in motion a series of interventions and activities against bullying," councillor for legal issues Adolfo Grauso said. "On Monday, the council will approve a resolution that we have long been working on to establish an office for the prevention of bullying in collaboration with schools". He added that the town council would make psychologists, social workers and lawyers available.