By Bruce Johnston in Rome Published: 12:01AM GMT 01 Feb 2002
A 66-YEAR-OLD law professor suspected of obtaining sexual favours female students in return for top marks, was hailed as a hero yesterday.
One newspaper described Prof Ezio Capizzano, a commercial law lecturer at the University of Camerino, as "Italy's answer to Sean Connery" after he defended himself by saying he only had sex with those who consented.
He lost his job at the 14th century university yesterday because of the scandal, which erupted when videos of his exploits were sent to the police. One student told La Rebubblica newspaper: "The first thing I learnt when I got to Camerino was that you didn't have to worry about your exams if you were pretty."
The investigation began last month after pornographic videos were stolen from his office. The videos, filmed with a camera hidden under the desk in his faculty office, featured the bearded professor having sex with women students on the rug.
When interrogated, Prof Capizzano calmly admitted the encounters, pointing out that they had all been consensual, and the "fruit of love". Several women told police that instead of feeling "obligated" to have sex, they had done so willingly, such was the professor's appeal.
Prof Capizzano's antics were hailed in the newspaper Corriere della Sera, where an article praised him as "Italy's answer to Sean Connery". Alberto Bevilacqua, a 68-year-old best-selling Italian author of romantic novels, wrote in the newspaper: "Capizzano stands to become the new guru of pensioned Italian males.
"Up until now, the idol of the over-60s, and not only them, has been Sean Connery. But Connery has the added attraction of being a film star. Instead, Capizzano, a sexual trapeze artist, has only himself to thank for his acrobatics."