The rector of Bari University has promised an investigation after an official was arrested for allegedly offering answers to admissions tests in exchange for sex.
Giussepe Specchia, 46, coordinator of the university's public relations office, is accused of making the offer to a female journalist who posed as a would-be student.
Police said there had been rumours that Mr Specchia, 46, habitually offered the answers to admission tests for degree courses in exchange for sex. But there had been no formal complaint until a student told newspaper La Repubblica that Mr Specchia had asked her how important it was to her to be admitted and allegedly molested her while offering test answers. She refused to go to the police for fear of jeopardising her university career.
La Repubblica sent a reporter to the PR office to request information on admission to a course that has more than 1,000 applicants for 250 places. Mr Specchia allegedly told the reporter he could get her the test answers, gave her an appointment and an "unsolicited kiss". The newspaper told the prosecutor's office, which authorised a surveillance operation. The reporter, who was instructed to do nothing to lead Mr Specchia on, visited him with a tape recorder and transmitter in her bag, with 16 plainclothes police nearby.
Mr Specchia allegedly gave the reporter exam answers, made her sit on his lap and explicitly requested sex. When the reporter uttered an agreed phrase, police burst in. In a drawer, they found photocopies of the test answers.
Mr Specchia is accused of theft, sexual assault and disclosure of official secrets.