Six years in prison for abusing a woman in Madrid using chemical submission

A man has been sentenced to six years in prison for sexually abusing a woman in Madrid in a case of chemical submission. The judges of the Provincial Court declare proven that he or another person introduced an unknown substance in the victim's drink, that he could not do anything to defend himself from abuse. "He moved me like a doll," he said at trial. A new sentence that condemns a man for sexual abuse in the context of a chemical submission that reveals the difficulty of detecting and testing the substances that are used in this type of case.

The events, according to the sentence to which has had access, occurred in Madrid in July 2018. The victim and the aggressor had met on LinkedIn for work reasons and decided to meet in a bar near Madrid's Plaza de Duque of Pastrana. First they drank a pint of beer, then they ordered a bottle and the woman had not finished this second drink when she realized that something was wrong: she left the bathroom and, as she herself explained, everything seemed "unreality".

The sentence explains that, from that moment, he entered a "state of drowsiness and confusion"And what happened at some point during the night: that someone introduced something into his drink. "In an uncredited way, the defendant or person at his request, supplied the complainant with an unspecified substance," explains the Provincial Court of Madrid. That unknown substance introduced in an unknown way into his beer, according to the judges, "annulled his ability to react and to give his consent to the facts."

The condemned took advantage of the effects of the substance. He took the victim to his house and there abuse of her. The woman, as proven by Justice, "did not consent to said relationship, to which she could not physically oppose as a result of the state of intoxication" in which she was. Despite this, she "repeatedly" told the abuser that she did not want to have any type of sexual relationship with him. "No, not like that," she told him. The victim only managed to call a friend to tell him what happened when the assailant went down the street for a moment to buy some food and drink. "He moved me like a doll," she recounted during the trial later.

The victim gradually recovered her memories after suffering partial anterograde amnesia and finally reported what happened two days later. Three and a half years after the events, the Provincial Court of Madrid has given full credibility to the victim's testimony and has sentenced the culprit to six years in prison for a crime of sexual abuse, seven more years of probation and compensation of 12,000 euros for the affected. The sentence is not final and can be appealed, first before the Superior Court of Justice and finally before the Supreme Court.

The judges indicate that the victim's is the most credible testimony in the case. "A coherent story, without internal contradictions, poured with security, precision and with a mental attitude corresponding to its objective aspect", explains the sentence, to which has had access. She reported that she went to the bar because the abuser had made her an "informal" job offer in contact with her through the aforementioned social network, oriented to the world of work.

Faced with the version of the victim, also supported by a friend, whom he called from the abuser's house to relate "the fear he felt", the accused drew a different situation: that they kissed in the bar, that nobody threw anything in his drinking and having consensual sexual relations. The judges understand that this exculpatory version collides with the rest of the evidence, including the psychological reports that prove that the victim suffers from post-traumatic stress and anxiety as a result of what happened.

The magistrates also do not take into consideration the statement of the bartender at the bar where the events occurred, who in plenary stated that the woman was "in good condition" and that he even "talked to her shortly before they left, noticing her normal" . The sentence understands that it is "unbelievable" that he remembers so vividly something that happened almost four years ago while she was working. They slip that, if so, it is because he "has discussed, in some way, the issue with the accused, before he testified in the Court of Instruction in the month of October of that year."

The sentence is one more example of the difficulties posed by cases of chemical submission even when the complaint is early, there is different evidence and the Justice considers the abuser guilty: on very few occasions can it be proven what substance could have been consumed by the victim to override his will and how he got to his drink.

In this case, the judges of the Court of Madrid have no doubt that the woman was annulled by something more than a cane and half a bottle of beer, and that the abuser knew it since he acted "knowingly and taking advantage of the lack of capacity " from her to refuse or defend herself. But they don't know what substance she was or how she was supplied to her. "In an uncredited way, the defendant or person at her request, provided the complainant with an unspecified substance," the proven facts explain.

The judges recognize this but also explain that there are substances such as scopolamine that, says the sentence, "can produce effects compatible with the story" of the victim. This is not an obstacle to declaring proven that she was abused under the influence of some substance: "It is also known that there are substances of the aforementioned type that are undetectable after a few hours of consumption." And the defendant, moreover, "had the opportunity to do so, since he had the woman's drinks available to him when they talked or when he went to the bar to pick them up," says the sentence.

This is not the first case of chemical submission in which the courts declare proven that the victim consumes a substance but without being able to go much further at that specific point in the story. A few months ago, the Superior Court of Justice of Madrid confirmed a sentence of five years in prison for a man who abused a woman near a bar in the town of Alcobendas in May 2019, even together with a second attacker who has not been identified.

The account of proven facts explains: "She went out to smoke, and at the door of the establishment she struck up a conversation with the accused, who put something in her mouth with a bitter taste, then grabbed her arm and took her on foot to another street , she fell twice, since then, she no longer remembers exactly what happened ". In her body she had, in addition to alcohol and cocaine, a dozen substances of unknown origin.

In the case of Plaza de Duque de Pastrana, the testimony of the victim and that of his friend, whom he was able to call, have made it possible to convict the abuser. In the case of Alcobendas, the woman was also unable to "consciously decide whether to accept or reject the sexual relationship, because her abilities were intensely affected, both by previous intake of alcohol and other narcotic substances," explained the Madrid courts. She recounted that "she woke up in a park, that she saw her skirt hiked up, her sweater torn, and her legs and skirt covered in blood, that she didn't know what had happened to her, that everything hurt, that she started walking" until that stopped a National Police car and an ambulance came.

In this second case, also pending final judgment, the judges also left in writing the uncertainty about the substance and its effects: "It cannot be concluded with total accuracy if the loss of consciousness was due to the substance that the defendant introduced in the mouth of the victim or due to the victim's prior intake of alcoholic beverages or medications," the judges explained. But they did take one thing for certain: "That loss of consciousness was used by the defendant to commit the alleged acts, satisfying his sexual desires without the victim being able to exercise any defense or resistance."

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