WORLDPOST
04/27/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

'Italian Fritzl' Arrested With Son For Enslaving Daughter: Police

An Italian man from Turin has been arrested for sexually abusing his daughter for over 25 years and encouraging his son to do the same. This case has been compared with the shocking Josef Fritzl story in Austria.

Times Online reports the on the arrest of the man and his 41-year-old son, who abused his sister and four of his own daughters:

"It seems that in this family there was a sort of 'droit de seigneur' of the father over the daughter," the Turin prosecutor Pietro Forno said. The two arrested men deny the charges.

Neither the accused nor their victims were named. Police said the 64-year-old man's daughters and granddaughters had been kept in "conditions of slavery and mistreatment", with the man's 34-year-old daughter often locked up in the dark in her bedroom "without electric light".

The man and his son, both street traders dealing in scrap metal who moved to Turin from Apulia in southern Italy, have been charged with rape, incest, and obscene acts in public because some of the sexual abuse took place in a car.

BBC explains that the daughter had originally filed a report over 16 years ago, but no action was taken.

Italian media say the first victim, given the pseudonym "Laura", is now 34 and is having psychological treatment.

Laura alerted the police, who now believe that the 63-year-old man's son also raped his own four daughters.

Laura's abuse is believed to have started when she was nine years old.

Prosecutors say she was locked up in a room without electricity, forced to leave school at the age of 13 and never allowed to leave the house without her father's supervision.

Josef Fritzl, an Austrian man accused of a similar crime, was sentenced to life last week, as Reuters reports:

Fritzl, a 73-year-old Austrian, was sentenced to life in a secure mental unit this month for locking up and raping his daughter in a cellar over 24 years, fathering seven children with her and causing the death of his own infant son.