The Supreme Court acquits a convict for abusing a woman with an intellectual disability of 71%

The supreme court has decided to acquit a care home worker who had been sentenced to 7 years in prison for abusing a female intern, a person with an intellectual disability of 71% and a "maturational age" of six and a half years. Criminal judges understand that the woman's disability "distorted" her ability to decide if she wants to have sexual relations, but that does not mean that she "cannot display her free will with intensely sexualized options." That is, she could decide.

Women with disabilities and their sexual and reproductive health

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The events that the Supreme Court has analyzed took place in the Occupational Center of the Leonese town of Astorga in 2016. The victim lived there, a 35-year-old woman with an intellectual disability and a maturity age of six and a half years, judicially incapacitated since more than a decade ago. The accused also worked there, in the laundry, who also had known the woman for several years because they were both neighbors of the same municipality.

The proven facts of the sentence, which are not questioned by the Supreme Court and which were confirmed by the Superior Court of Castilla y León, explain that the defendant managed to get the woman to come to his house "with the promise of giving her a snack, recharge her the cell phone or give her a small amount of money” and that his purpose was to have sexual relations with her, which happened on several occasions at the end of 2016.

The defendant, who went so far as to allege that everything was "a witch hunt" against him and that other workers at the center had encouraged the woman to file a "false complaint" against him, was sentenced by the Audiencia de León to seven years in prison. jail. A sentence that explained that it had to be avoided automatically criminalize any sexual relationship of a person with an intellectual disability, but that he understood that in this case there was plenty of evidence to speak of abuse without valid consent. "Not only has he used the defendant's disability but, in addition, with the intention of influencing her decision-making capacity to have sexual relations with her, he rewarded her with secondary earnings," said the Leonese court.

The Supreme Court does not question the proven facts nor these arguments of the courts of Castilla y León, but understands that the disability of 71% did not prevent the woman from freely deciding whether or not she wanted to have sexual relations. "A basic sexual maturity does not mean that the sexual scope of the acts is unknown" reasons the criminal court. And in this case, according to the Supreme Court, there are indications that point to acquittal: "The account of proven facts does not reflect that the woman fully lacks the capacity to make sexual decisions."

The proven facts speak of a "distorted capacity" of this woman to decide, but that does not imply, according to the judges, that there is "an emptying of the capacity that she has to understand her sexual activity in a basic way, nor that she cannot display her free will with intensely sexualized options.” In this case, in addition, there are data that according to the Supreme Court have been omitted in the account of proven facts and that point in this direction.

The criminal court refers, for example, to the fact that despite his 71% disability he has "social skills" and can even freely enter and exit the center. In addition, the forensic doctor in the case explained that the victim is "a person who can be manipulated due to her intellectual deficit and that she can be an easy target for people who want to sexually abuse her" but that her disability "does not prevent her from having sufficient information regarding to sex education.

For this reason, she affirms, the relationships they maintained "were developed within a valid, albeit limited, space of sexual self-determination, and without the sexual relationship being approached beyond the tolerable limit of respect for the decision-making autonomy of women." All the evidence reflects, says the Supreme Court, "consensual relationships that were not stripped, nor of an understanding of their significance, nor of respect for the accused of the will and sexual freedom expressed by women."

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