Spain: prosecutors claim attack not rape as victim ‘did not fight back’ - Six men accused of sexual abuse of 14-year-old girl in abandoned factory in Manresa

Prosecutors in the trial of six young men accused over an attack on a 14-year-old girl in the Spanish town of Manresa have argued they should face the lesser charge of sexual abuse instead of rape because the girl was drunk, under the influence of drugs and did not fight back.
The trial has been dubbed the Manresa Manada after the notorious case of five men who called themselves La Manada, “the wolf pack”, who were accused of raping a teenager in Pamplona but were initially found guilty of the lesser offence of sexual abuse. Last month the supreme court increased their sentences from nine to 15 years, ruling that they had committed rape.
The original verdict caused outrage when the three judges concluded that the victim, 18, who had only met her attackers 20 minutes before the assault, did not resist and was therefore complicit. The supreme court ruled she was simply too terrified to fight back.
The accused in the Manresa case have all denied having sexual relations with the victim, although sperm from one of them was found on her clothing. On the opening day of the trial in Barcelona on Wednesday, one said: “I don’t know how that could have got there, she must have sat on something.”
The prosecution alleges the six men sexually abused the girl on 29 October 2016 in an abandoned factory. A seventh man is accused of masturbating while watching and faces 18 months for failing to help her.
The prosecution was reported to be considering increasing the charge to rape, depending on the victim’s testimony.

It is alleged that one of the accused took the girl, who was drunk, into a shack where he sexually abused her. He then invited the others to do likewise, telling them they were only allowed 15 minutes each.
In what appears to be a re-run of the Pamplona case, the prosecution claims that, while there was no consent, there was no violence or intimidation either, so the offence could not be considered rape, even though the victim was in no state to resist. The charge of sexual abuse carries a maximum sentence of 12 years.
The victim’s lawyers claim that the girl was intimidated and are demanding a sentence of 15 to 20 years.
In the supreme court ruling in the Pamplona case last month, the judges cited what they called “contextual intimidation” in which the victim was dragged into a hallway and outnumbered by five men.
The case has led to calls for changes to the law relating to rape and sexual abuse. Spain’s socialist government has proposed changing the law on consent to be: yes means yes. Anything else, including silence, would be interpreted as no.
Wednesday’s court session was adjourned early because of a death in the family of one of the lawyers. As the accused were led from court police had to restrain an uncle of the victim who tried to attack one of them and later told reporters: “She’s not well and she thinks she’s going to be killed.”
The victim will testify on Monday and a friend who accompanied her on the night in question is due to testify in the next few days.
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