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Guglielmo Rapinett
(1843 - 1912) Malta

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Politician

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Rapinett, a lawyer, was elected to the Council of Government in 1871, and shortly afterwards was appointed a magistrate: he was also Professor of Law and Economics at the University of Malta.

In 1884 he was arrested by a military policeman for having attempted to seduce a young British soldier in Valletta. Charged with making indecent and immoral proposals to and indecently assaulting a man, he was found guilty and suspended from the office of magistrate.

Rapinett admitted to entering into a conversation with the soldier, who he said had asked him for a shilling; Rapinett claimed to have refused this and had even threatened to report him. According to Rapinett, the soldier then arrested him.

Rapinett admitted that he was greatly worried by the "terror of publicity" of the inquiry. He was upset at the "sneers and jibes of the evil-minded, the innuendoes of friends and enemies, the political capital which the opposition papers [make]".

Nevertheless, after Rapinett was found guilty, all the elected members of Malta's Legislative Council, the Archbishop of Malta and 3,000 citizens petitioned for his release.

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Source: excerpts from: Aldrich R. & Wotherspoon G., Who's Who in Gay and Lesbian History, from Antiquity to WWII, Routledge, London, 2001

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