The alleged rape of two American college students by on-duty policemen in Florence who offered to drive the women home in a patrol car is a "bloodcurdling" abuse of authority, ruling centre-left Democratic Party leader Matteo Renzi said Monday.
"The use of the uniform in this way is bloodcurdling," he stated.
"What happened in Florence is of an unprecedented gravity," said Renzi, who is Italy's former premier and the ex-major of Florence.
"If the charges of rape are proven, it would be "absolutely unjustifiable and to be condemned with force. I don't say that as party leader but as a father, son and citizen."
Renzi was referring to complaints filed last week by a 19-year-old and a 20-year-old student who allege they were raped at their apartment building in central Florence by two Carabinieri police officers who drove them there from a nightclub.
One of the policemen has admitted raping one of the women but claimed he had "consensual" sex with her.
The second officer has not yet been questioned by prosecutors, who have opened a probe into the allegations.
Both policemen have been suspended from duty. Investigators are awaiting DNA test results to see if they confirm the women's account.
Besides the rape allegations, the policemen risk disciplinary charges for driving the women home without informing their superiors.
The US state department has said it is taking the women's allegations "extremely seriously".