- An Italian doctor told female patients that sex with him could cure them of HPV, reports say.
- He claimed that his penis, which he called the “magic flute,” could prevent women from getting cancer, per reports.
- Professor Giovanni Miniello, 68, has been arrested on suspicion of sexual assault.
An esteemed Italian gynecologist tried to persuade female patients into engaging in sexual intercourse with him by claiming that it could rid them of human papillomavirus, or HPV, according to reports.
Professor Giovanni Miniello, 68, from the southern Italian city of Bari, told several women that his penis, which he referred to as a “magic flute,” had healing powers, per the Italian newspaper Libero Quotidiano.
The paper reported that Miniello said that sex with him could “save” his patients from cervical cancer — which can be caused by an HPV infection.
According to the Italian newspaper Repubblica, several women agreed to have sex with him, afraid of the consequences of HPV. Other patients, Repubblica reported, refused to be convinced.
One of Miniello’s patients claims that the doctor told her not to trust the results of an HPV test, which came up negative and offered to “decontaminate” her, per The Times. He advised that she could eliminate the infection by having sex with a vaccinated person, such as himself, the woman claims.
The woman took her story to Le Iene, an Italian TV show, which orchestrated a televised sting operation to expose Miniello.
Le Iene sent an actress who posed as a patient to covertly film Miniello, which included a meeting in a hotel room following a medical examination. She asked about using protection, to which Miniello replied that it was pointless because she would not receive antibodies to protect her from HPV, the Daily Mail reported.
On camera, The Times reported, he referred to his penis as “Padre Pio” – a 20th-century friar known for his healing abilities. Miniello was then filmed, half-naked, being confronted by a reporter. He repeated his unfounded claims of curing HPV with sex, per The Times.
Since Le Iene broadcast the undercover investigation, the show said that several other women had come forward.
The Italian newspaper Quotidiano Nazionale reported that Miniello, whose books on gynecology are internationally published, has been arrested on suspicion of sexual assault, relating to two incidents from September 2019 and June 2021.
It reported that an investigating judge had said the gynecologist took “advantage of the conditions of ‘psychological inferiority’ of the victims.” The arrest order also described a “devious personality without any inhibition,” said Quotidiano Nazionale.
The doctor is under house arrest until he faces trial, the paper said.
Miniello was unavailable for comment. His lawyer did not respond to Insider’s request for comment.