Justice acquits the two civil guards accused of abusing a young woman in Madrid

The Provincial Court of Madrid has decided to acquit two civil guards and a third man accused of sexually abusing a young woman in the capital in March 2018. The sentence, to which elDiario.es has had access, declares the relationships proven group sex and does not doubt the young woman's version – who stated that she barely remembered a few "flashes" of what happened – but also understands that there is not enough evidence to prove that the three abused her without her consent.

The case was revealed by this newspaper in 2020: A Madrid court was investigating whether two Civil Guard agents and a third man, all friends, had sexually abused a young woman in the capital two years earlier, with the possibility that they had used chemical submission being on the table. Throughout the entire process, they acknowledged that they had relations with her but that everything was consensual. The complainant, for her part, explained that she did not remember anything and that, therefore, she had not been able to give any type of consent.

The ruling of the Provincial Court of Madrid, which is still appealable, gives credibility to both stories, but understands that there is no data to show that she was effectively unconscious or nullified by alcohol in such a way that she could not show her rejection. "In short, it is unknown what state she presented at the time of the beginning of the sexual relationship and if she had sufficient capacity at that time to give effective consent. The Court lacks any information in this regard," says the resolution.

They all reported the same thing. That the complainant had gone to Madrid to visit a friend and that she met the three defendants in a bar in the La Latina neighborhood and later continued partying with them. After going through several bars, they decided to go to the house of one of them to continue. It is here that the young woman reports that she does not remember except for brief "flashes" of the night: going to a store to buy more alcohol, being in a room with all of them and having sexual relations. She also did not remember how she had gotten to her friend's house afterwards.

The monolithic version of the defendants and some witnesses, however, claimed that she had been conscious at all times, chatting with them and a fourth friend at home -talking, for example, about her love of long-distance racing- and then maintaining an active attitude during the sexual relationship that, they affirm, they maintained. Later, they accompanied the complainant in a taxi to her friend's house to continue partying on her behalf.

At the trial, the young woman made it clear that she did not remember anything of what happened, except for brief flashes, which led her to worry and report immediately afterwards. She woke up the next day not remembering anything and with vaginal pain. That same day, she bought a morning-after pill because of the possibility of having sex. She returned to Mallorca and days later she filed a complaint with the National Police. "It's hell, and not being able to clarify it is the worst", he said in a trial in which the Prosecutor's Office requested six years in prison for each of the three defendants

In its accusation, the Prosecutor's Office relied on a Police report in which it recorded the conversations between the agents in a flirtation group that they had created under the name 'Ultrataque', they challenged each other to maintain the maximum number of sexual relations . They called "fawn" to refer to "women likely to be ultraattacked." At one point, they even compare their "journey" with the young woman – as they call it – with the acts punished in the sentence of 'the herd', the group of men convicted of attacking a woman in Pamplona.

Now, the court that has judged the case concludes that this lack of memory determines the acquittal: there is no proof that he did not give his consent and the solution must be, therefore, the most favorable to the accused.

"Such lack of recollection of what happened continues to this day without this state of ignorance being equivalent to affirming the lack of consent," says the 23rd section of the Madrid Court in its resolution. It values ​​that neither the defendants nor the witnesses –both those who were friends of the defendants and those who coincided with them that night– reported that the young woman was in such a state of intoxication that it led to think of a possible unconsciousness. "There is no evidence that the complainant had canceled or significantly reduced his ability to understand, want and decide his actions due to the intake of alcoholic beverages or other substances and that due to the state of semi-consciousness in which he was found he could not resist, "says the sentence.

There is also no evidence, he adds, that the two civil guards and their friend "took advantage of such a state to have sexual relations on the part of the woman or that they acted with knowledge of an alleged lack of consent from her."

For the judges, "there has not been enough evidence" to blame the three defendants. The court understands that two key things cannot be affirmed to convict for a sexual crime: neither the lack of valid consent on the part of the complainant and that "it was feasible for the accused to notice that alleged lack of valid consent on which the accusation".

The court, with magistrate María Paz Batista as rapporteur, does not question everything said by the complainant in the trial about the fact of having drunk and not remembering part of what happened, although that amnesia also translates into the acquittal of the three accused. His "partial amnesia suffered", says the Court of Madrid, is "scientifically compatible with a previous consumption of alcohol" but also with "maintaining consciousness at the time of the experience, although later it is not possible to remember it".

The young woman, recalls the court, "has never maintained that she did not give her consent, but that she does not remember it, concluding that if she does not remember it, it is because such consent did not exist." But this last affirmation, say the judges, "cannot be shared from the normative and evidence point of view." The proven facts reflect, therefore, that the four of them had sexual intercourse, but that there is no evidence that she was semi-conscious and that they took advantage of her state.

The option of chemical submission, put on the table during the investigation phase to try to find an explanation for the complainant's partial amnesia, is also not taken into account by the court. "There is no data whatsoever that allows us to speak of the so-called chemical submission that, if it had been proven, would have allowed the presence of valid consent to be excluded," says the Court after verifying that no medical report includes the existence of these alleged substances.

Faced with the absence of evidence and details about that state of semi-unconsciousness and the absence of consent, the court highlights the version that the three defendants have maintained from the very moment of their arrest. The three were arrested in a nightclub in Palma, where they met by chance after the fact. "The version that the defendants have invariably been offering is also compatible with the so-called 'flashes' to which the complainant always alluded from her statements to the police," the sentence explains.

The resolution is still appealable before the Superior Court of Justice and later also before the Supreme Court.

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