Italy. Cult leader arrested on child-rape charges

Rome, Italy - Police on Tuesday arrested the head of a New Age cult in Rome for allegedly raping at least 20 young girls aged between 10 and 12 and defrauding their parents of money. Danilo Speranza, the 62-year-old leader of the 1,000-strong Re Maya cult, was arrested for alleged sexual abuse of minors and fraud, and may also face charges of enslavement. The investigation began more than a year ago after two children went to an abuse shelter to report the sexual violence. Speranza persuaded cult members' daughters to have sex with him as a means of freeing them from negative influences in their souls, prosecutors say.