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Berlusconi under pressure for ties with young women

Catholic World News - January 20, 2011

Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi faces heavy criticism from leftist groups, feminists, and the Catholic bishops' conference as an investigation continues into his relations with young women.

Berlusconi, who is at the center of a prostitution investigation, has denied that he has ever paid for sex. A teenaged Moroccan dancer who has been linked to the Italian leader has testified that he never touched her. But the premier makes no secret of his fondness for the company of young women, and complaints about his conduct are growing louder.

Avvenire, the weekly newspaper published by the Italian bishops' conference, has issued a front-page editorial calling upon Berlusconi for "clarification" of his relations with women. More than 2,000 Italian women have signed an online petition denouncing the premier for his conduct.

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