Verified

This is not a story about victims. This is a story about women who fight back.

February 25, 2020 | by Cecilia Anesi, Alessia Cerantola, Giulio Rubino

To a group of women from around the world who had come to vacation near Venice, Italy, he seemed like the perfect host. He had all the right online reviews, and was even a police officer. But when the lights went down this sexual predator drugged and assaulted his guests. Across continents and years, these fearless women found each other to bring him to justice. Together, with a relentless team of Italian journalists, they faced down every obstacle thrown at them and triggered an unprecedented trial in Italian court.

Hosted by investigative reporter Natasha Del Toro, this ten-episode, immersive true crime series examines the trust we place in the sharing economy and the power that a simple checkmark or digital review can hold over our lives.

Author Cecilia Anesi with one of the women/Eugenio Pizzorno

1. Maria

A group of friends from Portugal, led by Maria, plan their first trip abroad – a train trip to Italy. They find Leonardo, a host and a police officer with glowing reviews. But he’s not who he seems and their trip takes a terrible turn.

2. Kate

After their harrowing trip to Padua, Maria and her friends discover there are other women who share their story. They want to do everything they can to protect other women from Leonardo. But Kate walks into the same trap.

3. Sleuths

Maria and her best friend Miriam find more survivors from all over the world. The women take comfort in one another. They decide they can’t go it alone, though, and reach out to some scrappy Italian reporters for help.

4. The reporters

The reporters get to work and soon realize Leonardo isn’t who he claims. Unsure how to proceed, they turn to a trusted confidant in Milan.

5. Belinda

Belinda is a single mom on a budget. When she takes her two daughters on a trip to Italy, she’s drawn into Leonardo’s web of deceit. But this time, he’s messed with

6. The abyss

Belinda kicks the Italian justice system into high gear. The Couchsurfing cop is now under investigation. But even the officers assigned to the case are shocked at what they uncover next.

7. Couchsurfing

Couchsurfing was founded with an ethos of free exchange and communal values. It now boasts millions of users worldwide. But what happens when something goes wrong? Who pays the price?

8. Testify

The women and the reporters travel as Dino is held to account for his crimes.The women finally get to face their abuser in court.

9. Photograph

Kate and Maria prepare to return to Padua for the final chapter of the trial. But before they can get there, they learn some terrifying news.

10. Endings and beginnings

After years of fighting for justice, the final day of the trial arrives. Maria, Kate and the reporters come together to hear whether or not the judges will convict Dino. The emotional and legal ramifications of the decision are huge. But is this story over?

Photo: one of the authors together with one of the women/Eugenio Pizzorno

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