The Supreme Court acquits two convicted of abuses for their "age and maturity symmetry" with the 13-year-old victim

The Supreme court has acquitted two young men convicted of group sex abuse of a 13-year-old adolescent. The judges of the criminal chamber withdraw both the 10-year prison sentences that the Valencian Justice had imposed on them for a crime of sexual abuse when they understood that the minor had “a certain experience in the field of sexual intercourse“and that there could be a” symmetry in terms of age, development and physical and psychological maturity “between them and the girl. One of them was at that time 20 years old, the other 19 and the adolescent had just turned 13 years old. .

The sentence to which has had access explains that the adolescent and the oldest of the two acquitted had a relationship “in a dating regime.” On the day of the events they had sexual relations at his home in Valencia. Shortly after, the boy asked if she had a problem in which a 19-year-old cousin of hers joined them at home. When the second young man arrived, the Justice firmly declared that “the minor had complete sexual relations” with both of them in a consensual manner.

The case came before the Justice more than a year later, when the victim told the facts to a teacher and this to her family, who ended up filing a complaint. By then the young woman had already undergone a suicide attempt and the two were convicted shortly after. At first, the Valencia Provincial Court imposed 8 years in prison on each for a crime of sexual assault and later the Superior Court of Justice of the Valencian Community increased the penalty to 10 years in prison, although for a crime of child abuse in a group. This second highest sentence, but for another crime, was handed down considering an appeal from the Prosecutor’s Office.

Now it has been the Supreme Court that has decided to acquit the two. It does not do so for lack of evidence or because it does not consider the victim’s testimony credible. He does so because he understands that there was not much difference in age between the victim and the two adults and that, furthermore, he cannot rule out that it was a symmetrical sexual relationship between the adolescent and the two young people “in terms of age, development and physical maturity and psychological “. The judges of the criminal chamber apply the article 183c of the Penal Code that allows to exonerate those guilty of abuses if these requirements are met.

The Supreme Court, with the magistrate Angel Hurtado as speaker and with Manuel Marchena As president of the court, he therefore establishes his free acquittal, which not only withdraws the sentence of 10 years in prison: also the probation and the 15,000 euros of compensation that the Valencian courts had set for the victim. The judges reject all the arguments of the two young people about the lack of evidence and the lack of credibility of the adolescent’s statement, but they examine exoneration and without anyone asking for this exoneration due to the “proximity” between the 13-year-old adolescent and young people of 20 and 19 years of age.

The sentence that settles the case in firm with a double acquittal says, firstly, that “the distance between the ages of the minor and the accused does not seem so far to us,” and then goes on to examine the maturity of the complainant and the accused and affirm that “the maturity of the minor physically and psychologically was not very distant from that of the accused in what is the sphere of sexual relations.” For the magistrates, a proof of this proximity was the “courtship regime” existing at that time between the 13-year-old adolescent and the 20-year-old.

For the Supreme Court “it is also necessary to take into account” that before having relations with the two, she had already “had full sexual relations with him” and that she “does not oppose” her cousin joining, as she explained herself. in your statement. They even emphasize that one of their teachers, who testified at the trial, assured that she found the minor “mature”, which for the Supreme Court are “indicative data of a certain experience in the field of sexual relations, which allow not to rule out that the minor’s sexual relationship with the two defendants was so close to symmetry in terms of age, development and physical and psychological maturity “.

These arguments lead the Supreme Court to exonerate the two young people by applying article 183 quater of the Penal Code. It literally states that “the free consent of a minor under the age of sixteen, except in the cases of article 183.2 of the Penal Code, will exclude criminal responsibility for the crimes provided for in this chapter when the perpetrator is a person close to the minor due to age and degree of development. or physical and psychological maturity “. The proven facts of the sentence do not reflect intimidating or violent acts against the minor, which in the first and second instance led the case of rape to aggravated sexual abuse.

The Supreme Court explains that, once it has been declared proven that the consent of the minor was not flawed, there is “difficulty” in assessing, in this type of case, whether or not this article of the Penal Code can be applied to exonerate a pedophile. The Law, says the sentence, does not contain “a pure chronological criterion” but rather combines “the relationship of proximity between the age of the oldest and the youngest, and that of maturity symmetry between the two,” factors that are not subject “to fixed rules “and that depend on the formation and cultural conditions of each one”.

The judgment of the Supreme Court reflects the journey that this case has had through the different courts: from a conviction for rape to an acquittal. The fourth section of the Valencia Provincial Court sentenced them to 8 years in prison for sexual assault on the understanding that there had been some type of violence or intimidation towards the adolescent. Subsequently, the Superior Court of Justice upheld an appeal from the Prosecutor’s Office and increased their sentences to 10 years but for abuses. That sentence explained that “the sexual assault when the two appellants participated at the same time with anal and vaginal penetrations diminished the possibilities of effective defense of the victim regardless of the especially humiliating situation.”

The two appealed to the Supreme Court questioning the evidence against them and that, in addition, the aggravating circumstance of having acted jointly between several had been applied to them. Regarding the evidence, the Supreme Court explains that this assessment of the evidence is beyond its possibilities but they support the victim’s testimony: “It constitutes sufficient evidence to disprove the presumption of innocence” since it is corroborated by other evidence such as the testimony of her mother , several friends and a teacher. They also support that the Supreme Court convicted them of abuse and not rape, accepting the arguments it uses “to rule out that the site was against the will of the minor and through the use of intimidation.”


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