BARCELONA, SPAIN - Spaniards are voicing outrage after five men were acquitted of rape on the grounds that their 14-year-old victim had been unconscious at the time.
The Barcelona-based court ruled Thursday that the men were guilty of the lesser crime of sexual abuse and sentenced them to 10-12 years and fined them 12,000 euros ($13,300).
It ruled that their act could not be considered sexual assault since the girl was unconscious after consuming alcohol and drugs and so they did not need to use violence or intimidation, a requirement for a rape conviction in Spain.
Spain's deputy prime minister, Carmen Calvo, said that while her government does not comment on court decisions it has set as a priority a modification in the law to make clear consent necessary for sexual relations to occur legally. The attack occurred in the town of Manresa, near Barcelona, in 2016 when the girl and the men went into an abandoned factory to drink.
The court said that since the victim was unconscious during the attack, she "could not accept or reject the sexual relations" and that the men "could carry out those sexual relations without the use of violence or intimidation."
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