AN Italian tourist has been arrested in Brazil after onlookers reported him to police for kissing his eight-year-old daughter.
The man, 48, could face up to 15 years behind bars under the country’s strict new law designed to combat child sex abuse.
However, his Brazilian wife says the case is all a misunderstanding, while staff at the resort where the incident took place have been reported as saying they saw nothing unusual.
The unnamed man, who has been in custody since last Wednesday, is alleged to have touched the girl in an intimate way.
A Brazilian couple claimed he had been touching a young girl inappropriately and had kissed her on the mouth while they were both at a swimming pool close to the beach in full view of other tourists.
But his wife says the witnesses didn’t know the girl was his daughter – and that they misinterpreted seeing a foreign white man with a young darker-skinned girl.
“If there had been anything untoward, I would have been the first to defend my daughter,” she said, quoted by Brazil’s state news agency.
The businessman, from the town of Guidonia, had been due to return to Italy with his family from their holiday last week.
It is understood another attempt will be made today to secure his release.
The north-east of Brazil has for some years had a problem of paedophiles travelling to the area.
Under strict new legislation passed last month, the offence of molesting a child under the age of 14 can carry a penalty of between eight to 15 years in jail.
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