A University of Minnesota law school professor is accused of violently sexually assaulting a former girlfriend, attempting to run her over in his car, and stalking her.
Franceso Parisi, 54 years old, was charged Tuesday with first-degree criminal sexual conduct – which carries a minimum sentence of 12 years in prison if convicted – as well as stalking.
According to the criminal complaint, the victim came to police last month, detailing Parisi's behavior since they had a short relationship in 2014.
According to the charges:
In January of 2015, after he screamed at the victim, Parisi went to a psychiatrist and was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and depression. He was also put on medication.
A week later, Parisi told the victim he had HIV, had slept with some students, and also sexually assaulted a 14-year-old girl whom he had given alcohol to.
When the victim confronted Parisi about the confessions, he screamed at her, then grabbed her in a bear hug and slammed her into the ground to the point where she had a seizure – a symptom of a medical condition. She then regained consciousness to Parisi raping her.
The woman needed surgery to repair damage, and also suffered three broken teeth.
In March, the victim filed for an order for protection – but dropped it after Parisi badgered her and worried about losing his job.
Parisi also tried to run the victim over in his Jeep on two occasions, one of which led to another seizure and a three-day hospital stay.
Parisi is scheduled to be in court Wednesday, with prosecutors seeking $500,000 bail. A search of Parisi's public criminal history shows only traffic citations.
Parisi's attorneys previously told FOX 9 he's completely innocent, and called it a ploy by the woman to get more out of ongoing real estate negotiations.
Parisi is a professor at the U of M's law school, having previously held a position with University of Milan (Statale) from 2002 to 2006. He was slated to teach three courses at the U of M in spring of 2017.
The university in a statement said it's aware of the charges.
"We take allegations of this nature seriously, and will continue to monitor the legal proceedings," the statement said. "Given the circumstances surrounding the situation, we have not yet had an opportunity to discuss the matter or his status with him, and will have no further updates at this time."
In addition, the U says any student who believes they've been subjected to sexual assault, stalking, or relationship violence can report it to the police department. victim survivor assistance, and/or internal mechanisms. You can see the university's policy here.
Sexual assault resources
The organization RAINN says sexual violence has fallen by more than half over the past 24 years.
But an average of more than 321,000 Americans ages 12 and over are sexually assaulted annually. And one in six women, and one in 33 men, has experienced an attempted or completed rape in their lifetime, according to RAINN.
RAINN says people often don’t report assaults for a number of reasons. Some of those include victims believing it’s their own problem to deal with, being afraid of reprisal, or not wanting the offender to get in trouble.
If you’d like to get help or talk to someone, the National Sexual Assault Hotline is 1-800-656-4673.
Domestic violence resources
The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence says nearly 20 people every minute are physically abused by an intimate partner – that's more than 10 million people every year.
One in every seven women, and one in every 18 men, has been stalked to the point of being scared for their safety.
You can use this Minnesota guide from the NCADV to find services nearby, or call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 (SAFE).
If you or someone you know needs help, here’s another resource to find a program near you.
Mental health resources
One in five Americans (43.8 million people, about 18.5 percent of the population) experience some sort of mental illness every year, the National Alliance on Mental Illness says.
About 10 million Americans (one in every 25 people) suffers from a serious mental illness that interferes with major life activities.
Anyone who needs help dealing with a mental illness can call the NAMI helpline at 1-800-950-9264 (NAMI) Monday through Friday during normal business hours. Or you can reach the NAMI crisis line by texting NAMI to 741-741.
The 24/7 National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-8255 (TALK).