Doctor Andrea Cozzolino was arrested this week for allegedly selling the child of a 17-year-old girl back in October 2011.
He was officially accused of “suspicion of corruption and abuse of office,” says the Independent.
The young women wanted an abortion so that her parents wouldn’t find out she was pregnant. As she was “delayed in seeking a legal abortion (paid for by Italy’s health service) because of her age and her refusal to allow her parents to be contacted,” she had to seek out other means. Thus, she went to Cozzolino, who proceeded to dissuade her from having an abortion. If she carried her baby through to full term, he said, he would give the baby to a loving family. What he didn’t mention was that he planned on collecting $32,200 from the deal.
Reportedly, Cozzolino went to great lengths to ensure that the baby pass-off went smoothly. He is said to have sold the child to a 54-year-old man and a 48-year-old woman, and that “he made sure the 48-year-old woman was in the same hospital - an exclusive private clinic - at the same time” as the birth, writes the Daily Mail.
The birth mother only recently found out about the sale of her child. She is said to have noticed her name on a list of local birth records. “To explain her pregnancy she pretended she had been raped,” reports the Independent. Upon investigation, police found the couple who had purchased the child two years earlier.
Investigators recorded conversations the couple had with Cozzolino, during which they demanded their money be returned. “The doctor claimed it wasn’t his fault – and protested that the scheme had failed because local health officials had filled in the birth register very quickly, before he’d had time to intervene,” says the Independent. He apparently also noted that he had lost all of the cash in repaying gambling debts anyhow.