Interview with Carlo Parlanti

Carlo Parlanti e Katia Anedda nella prigione americana

A bitter, very bitter America, is what emerges from these words uttered by Carlo Parlanti, an Italian originally from Tuscany, an IT manager who, since 2004, has been in prison in California, where he is serving a 9-year prison sentence for sexual assault and domestic violence against his ex, Rebecca Mckay White, despite a series of insane contradictions and undoubted illogical statements and even partial admissions to lies told by the woman. Amongst other things, for example, Ms. White had stated that, shortly before raping her, Carlo Parlanti had drunk 4 litres of wine, despite the fact that it would have a devastating effect on his organism, determining the impossibility for him to have the strength to commit any kind of violence whatsoever, as well as the impossibility for him to have an erection; moreover, Ms. White stated that she had been beaten and banged against the wall for a good 60 times, 30 against a cork notice board and 30 against a nearby wall, yet the photographs of the apartment highlighted the wall and the notice board in perfect order, whilst the apartment maintenance technician had witnessed that no repairs whatsoever had been carried out on those premises, the walls of which were made of plasterboard and on which not even the police had found any damage. Furthermore, no marks were found on the victim’s body, which instead should have been terrible, showing the reported violence, that even included rape using a  "fist" and an arm, apart from several details of the incident which were physically absurd, including the statement made by the American lady that she herself had put her jaw back into place which had been put out of joint by Carlo Parlanti. Other concerning details regarding the case have been, moreover, clarified by Parlanti himself during this interview, whilst he was and is still now, obviously, inside the American prison; no less worrying, however, has proved to be the atmosphere present during the court proceedings, during which the Italian culture that the accused belonged to, was defined by the public prosecutor , the attorney of Ventura Romero, as an environment in which violence occurred frequently; in addition, on such occasion, Rebecca Mckay White stated that Carlo Parlanti had celebrated the massacre of 11th September 2001, despite the fact that she could not have been a witness to this, nor could she have any proof of such, also due to the fact that Carlo was not in the United States.


Ricciardi: “During your legal battle, it is evident that there have been a succession of  inconsistencies and a lack of basic investigations, on behalf of the Ventura County magistrature: in particular, with regards to this, can you indicate which of the scientific investigations should have been carried out and that haven’t been?”


Parlanti: “ The worst omission performed by the Ventura sheriff’s investigators was the decision not to carry out a "rape kit" test on the presumed victim upon reporting such crime. In court, 3 years later, the same detective justified the decision by saying that the report had been made late and that the woman had admitted to consenting to having sex with me after being raped!?
In fact, leaving the woman to decide which doctor to contact (and when), the sheriff had instigated her to produce false evidence...and so the women did so, days later she travelled 500 km to see her best friend’s employer in order to try to obtain a medical report that made some kind of sense (however without succeeding all that much).
Now, 5 years later, we discover that Ms. White has had a total hysterectomy when she was a 30-year old and that therefore the fist rape described by her is not only impossible but even paradoxical: and however still no-one performed a simple gynaecological examination in order to verify the inevitable damage that should have been caused in the  "bloodbath" described by Ms. White, why according to the detective there was no evidence to gather, no blood, nor hair nor signs of fighting!
My suspicion is that this is normal operational procedure, for the sheriff of Ventura, to gather evidence if and only if they confirm his theses: without such it is surely better not to have physical evidence!”


Ricciardi: “Can you summarise, even if only partially, which will be the key subjects of your defence, for the Appeal case? In particular, apart from going into further details with these matters which in your opinion have not been correctly dealt with during the previous court proceedings, will there be new elements which have not been brought before the court previously (if it is possible for you to reveal them of course), perhaps also because you thought that maybe it would have been worth proving such in order to clear your name?”


Parlanti: “The main problem as regards my defence is that I have already lost the first degree appeal case (technically) and that the Public Prosecutor’s office in Ventura has threatened us to use all the time at their disposal in order to obstacle any kind of “habeas corpus” petition that we may present: this consists of  2 1/2 years and these guarantee that I finish serving this ridiculous sentence and then I will be deported, making my defence even more difficult! The only possible strategy that remains therefore is that of showing several institutions and as many people as possible, all the crimes that have been committed against me, against the State of California, against Germany and Italy during the course of my persecution!
We have listed 24 of them and we are formalising them into criminal plaints; 8 of them have already been presented to various Californian authorities.
Online, on the website, you can find the complete list and maybe you will be able to help me to ask those whose power it is how certain crimes can remain unpunished!”

Ricciardi: “During these years, you will have asked yourself if your legal misfortune was “only” due to superficialities that have triggered off a series of legal errors, apart from Ms. White’s evident mental instability (even to the jury), or if it has been a real plot to put you with your back against the wall... In particular, a certain underhanded role must have been played, according to several observers, by another of your ex-girlfriends, the American psychologist Sandra Philips married Lavagnino, a woman who has two ruined marriages behind her, a charge of violence against one of her ex-husbands,  towards which Rebecca McKay White had changed attitude. Can you explain how these two women have come into contact with each other, and why, in your opinion did Ms. White, at a certain point become your implacable accuser, following Ms. Lavagnino’s footsteps, who, in turn, had contested another similar happening?”


Parlanti: “In 2000, I experienced a period of seriously deep depression during which I probably matured the decision to abandon the States and to move to Europe once more.
And so I sought advice, after I took advice from my employer, from a psychologist that my insurance company had recommended.
The woman had convinced me that I needed an incredible number of "sessions", so many that I accumulated almost 8,000 dollars in consultations in less than 2 months! She subsequently made things worse by convincing me that I had to abandon the partner that I had at the time so that she could take her place.
When I finally realised the debauchery of this new relationship and I tried to break up with her, the psychologist accused me of domestic violence and she used her acquaintances with the police and the Public Prosecutor’s office to guarantee my persecution. At first, Ms. White helped me to organise a civil court case for the sum of 1/2 million dollars against the therapist for her too obvious professional misdeeds (she confessed the sexual relationship on many occasions and in writing) [a psychologist should not have a relationship with one of his/her patients in the U.S.A., Editor’s note]. However, when Ms. White understood that she could not have a stable relationship with me, she evidently decided to join forces with the psychologist that was always and however trying to make the "Carlo Parlanti" problem disappear.
And now she consoles herself with the delusion of having a home paid by the real victims of sexual assaults, she has her medical assistance paid for, 2,000 dollars per month worth of subsidies and the satisfaction of having destroyed my life forever!”


Ricciardi: “Do you believe that these are errors committed by your previous lawyers during the preparation of your defence? In particular, I would like to ask you if, perhaps by considering that your case was an easy case, given the inconsistency of the accuses made against you by your ex-girlfriend, they had neglected certain details that anyhow should have been adequately dealt with...”

Parlanti: “When we examined the existing documentation, we discovered that the first defence counsel had hidden (also from us) an enormous amount of proof regarding crimes and perjuries, obviously with the intention of saving the police and colleagues from Venture any embarrassment. Some of the reports relating in fact to these omissions, I really beg you to  read the complete list. How can a lawyer declare in court that he had not received any surveys relating to the photos [of Ms. White, Editor’s note] as a good 2 experts have already confirmed that it is impossible to verify their authenticity? 5 years later, the entire world, even including the public prosecutor of Ventura, admits the falsity of those photos yet no-one has asked  Bamieh for explanations [in fact, he was Carlo Parlanti’s first defence counsel, Editor’s note] as regards his criminal behaviour!”

Ricciardi: “ During your legal vicissitudes, so far it seems that the absurd has prevailed: here we are not talking of just a negative experience that however has an evident meaning to teach, in that it is not one of those simply unjust situations that one could have easily avoided: for example, a girl that accepts a lift from a stranger who subsequently betrays her faith, would have surely suffered an unjust experience, which however could have easily been avoided if she had been more careful; this, however does not justify in any way whatsoever whatever could have happened to her... In your case, do you think that, without minimising in any way whatsoever the injustice that you retain to be suffering, could you have done something to have avoided such a degeneration of this story?”

 Parlanti: “Unfortunately, in the US courts, the obligation to prove accusations of domestic violence or sexual assault does not exist (especially in California). A woman’s word is, by law, considered in advance to be valid, without the need to gather other evidence to support her story.
In my case, you can easily verify how not even the fact of having caught the accusing woman in the act committing perjury has been able to save my neck. I should have inquired about such things and I should have also abstained from having relationships whilst I was in the United States on business…. Or even I should have totally avoided starting this period of work experience in the States! There’s a reason why in the States there are 2 1/2 million people in prison and this alone should be enough to frighten anyone”.

Ricciardi: “In your opinion, what could be the political step or steps that Italy could take and that it still hasn’t taken in order to ensure you a fair and transparent trial? You have always deeply believed in this, in fact, so much so that you have waived a plea bargain that, by means of  an admission to being guilty of such crime, you could have been set free in a few months’ time...”


Parlanti: “Some of the crimes committed during my persecution are of our jurisdiction’s competence and the Italian and European authorities should start to severely punish them. The Sheriff of Ventura has falsified my Italian criminal record by telling the judge that he should decide on my bail due to the fact that I had previous convictions for rape and armed robbery in Italy!

The Public Prosecutor’s office in Ventura has concealed all the evidence in my favour from the German Public Prosecutor’s office so that I could be extradited and slowly rot in their county prisons!

Italy should start with these crime, using them to verify the falsity of all the other proof and to demand that this absurd story is resolved before ruining the professionalism of the police forces and the Public Prosecutor’s Offices of 3 nations for good!

Ricciardi: “As far as you know, would it be possible, for the European Union to play a role in this story, maybe via the European Court for Human Rights in Strasbourg, for them to put pressure on the American authorities so that they can guarantee you a fair trial?”

Parlanti: “In fact, it was the European Court for Human Rights in Strasbourg that validated my extradition affirming that I would have had a fair trial in the States!?!?!?

Now we are aware that already at that time, the Public Prosecutor’s Office in Ventura hid proof and falsified criminal records coming from other nations, and now we know of the falsified proof and the impossible horror stories told by Ms. White, don’t you think that it should be their duty to do something?”

Ricciardi: “You are in the Avenal prison in particularly constraining conditions,  more than those that are usual for a prisoner held in the United States, and moreover, the same treatment that is reserved for you does not particularly aim at re-education, for example, you have been prevented from working on the computer, the activity for which you were particularly sought-after; what is most disturbing is that once you are free, if you are not acquitted, you will no longer be able to dedicate yourself, in the U.S.A., to your job as a computer programmer and IT expert... If you take all this into consideration, I ask you: how is your life now and what do you think that your future relationship with the United States will be like, a Country in which you, during your cosmopolitan life, had spend a great part of your existence?”

 Parlanti: “I had interrupted my experience in the U.S.A: in 2002, I was deeply disappointed by life in this country. This could be the best place in the world to live, if only you could spend the rest of the day in Milan, Dublin or Gibraltar.

I don’t think that I will be able to overcome the fear and the horror that I feel now but certainly I will put my heart and soul into making sure that one avoids importing to Italy and Europe in general a legal system which is so inhuman and profoundly corrupted as that here in America”.

Ricciardi: “Who are the people that you would particularly like to thank for the dedication shown to your legal and personal story?”

Parlanti: “That inauspicious day in which Judge Cloninger “offered” me 3 years at 50% if I confessed to rape (and strangely enough I had already served 11 months in Germany and  7 months in Ventura). I demanded that they made an exception to the rule so that I could speak to my mother and with my girlfriend Katia who were in the courtroom at that moment. It was them that I asked if they would have supported me in my decision to stand for what is just and to seek the truth. They agreed and they continue to support me every day!

Every week, one of my supporters “abandons” the “case, maybe due to the fact that they are simply tired of it or because they find it difficult to find words when you are faced with such serious and absurd injustices and crimes. Instead, Katia is always there, ready to scream and shout with me (sometimes also against me).

Then there are also all the wonderful people that I didn’t even know before and who have taken the place of all those false friends I had in my life who suddenly disappeared 5 years ago!

Valentina, Mattea, Mara, Elisabetta, Agnesina, Daniela, Stefania, Stefano, Carlo…there are so many new friends, so many names that it is easier to ask you to visit Facebook and to join the  1300 of them that are part of the Carlo Parlanti group.

If you do so, please write on the wall on my behalf that only they give me the strength to shout and to live!”

Introduction and questions by Antonella Ricciardi

[This article-interview was published on these Italian journals: Caserta24ore, Corriere di Aversa e Giugliano, Il Mezzogiorno di Napoli e Caserta, Italia Sociale, Rinascita, L'Altra Voce, Il Popolo d'Italia]

English translation by Terri (Therese Nicola) Marshall

Antonella Ricciardi , 22th July 2009