A longtime University of Minnesota Law School professor was charged Tuesday with stalking and first-degree criminal sexual conduct for allegedly harassing and raping a woman.
Francesco Parisi, 54, of Minneapolis, is scheduled to appear in court Wednesday afternoon. He was arrested on Friday and remains jailed. Hennepin County prosecutors are seeking bail of $500,000. Parisi’s attorney, Barry Edwards, said the charges are baseless.
The charges say the 55-year-old woman accusing him of rape had known Parisi since 2014, when the two had a relationship that lasted several months. After their split, the victim alleges that Parisi got “crazier and crazier” and that he drank frequently.
On Jan. 22, 2015, he told the alleged victim that he had sex with law students, a 14-year-old girl and the girl’s friends, according to the criminal complaint. When the alleged victim confronted Parisi about these confessions, the victim maintains that he went into a rage, prevented her from leaving his home, bear hugged her and threw her to the ground.
At that point, she had a stress-induced seizure.
When she regained consciousness, he was sexually assaulting her, the charges say. When she was able to leave, she went to the hospital with three broken teeth and needed surgery for other injuries, according to the charges.
The woman got an order for protection against Parisi in March 2015. In the petition for that order, she wrote about the January 2015 incident, saying he had prevented her from leaving his home, but she did not write about the alleged sexual assault or the injuries that resulted from it. That order was dismissed a month later following a settlement.
According to the criminal complaint, the woman provided text messages of Parisi asking her to drop the order because he was not a U.S. citizen and could lose his job.
She filed for and was granted another order for protection against him in August 2016, this time detailing the alleged assault. She also accused him of sending people to her home late at night to intimidate her, sending late-night text messages while drunk and trying to run her down with his car. That restraining order was dismissed in November 2016 following another settlement.
On Jan. 17, she was out for a run when she saw his vehicle at Washington and 3rd Avenues N., the charges say. Suddenly, he drove onto the sidewalk and came within 2 feet of hitting her. She escaped into a building and an elevator, where she suffered another stress-induced seizure. A bystander called 911, and the woman was hospitalized for three days, the complaint says.
Attorney Edwards said in a statement, “the ‘victim’ has made allegations with zero evidence, other than her word, based on facts that have already been disproved in court in her various civil actions to try to discredit Professor Parisi. The Hennepin County attorney’s office has failed to do their due diligence in charging these allegations.”
He declined to answer further questions.
Taught at U since 2006
Parisi has taught law at the U and economics at the University of Bologna in Italy since 2006, according to the résumé posted on the law school’s website. His résumé says that he previously taught at the University of Milan, the University of Virginia and George Mason University. He has three law degrees and two economics degrees, it says.
His U biography says he has written 10 books and roughly 200 papers in law and economics, and is editor-in-chief of the Review of Law and Economics.
In a statement Tuesday night, the U said, “We take allegations of this nature seriously, and will continue to monitor the legal proceedings. Given the circumstances surrounding the situation, we have not yet had an opportunity to discuss the matter or his status with him, and will have no further updates at this time.”