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A Mexican judge has freed a wealthy young man accused of abducting and sexually assaulting a schoolgirl, on the grounds that the perpetrator did not enjoy himself.
Diego Cruz, 21, was one of four young men from prominent families in the coastal state of Veracruz who were nicknamed “Los Porkys” on social media after they were accused of seizing a classmate from their elite private school as she left a New Year’s party on 1 January 2015.
In a ruling which was made public on Monday, Judge Anuar González found that although Cruz was accused of touching the victim’s breasts and penetrating her with his fingers, he had acted without “carnal intent” – and so was not guilty of assault.
González also found that although the victim, who was 17 at the time, was forced into the car of one of her alleged attackers, she was never “helpless”. Two of the other three suspects are accused of penetrating the victim.
The release of Cruz – who had fled to Spain, but was extradited back to Mexico – has prompted outrage among human rights activists, and marked a new low point in a case that has reinforced the perception that those with money and political connections are above the law.
“He sexually touched her, but because he didn’t enjoy it, it’s not sexual abuse?” said Estefanía Vela Barba, an activist on gender issues.
“Since there was no pleasure in the act, it was intended to cause humiliation. They were touching her, they were bothering her, so for the judge, if the intention wasn’t pleasure, it’s not sexual assault,” said Vela, who works in the legal studies department at the Centre for Teaching and Research in Economics.
“There’s no disputing the facts. It’s not some crazy woman saying this, it’s coming from the judge’s mouth and he’s saying that if they touch you against your will, it might not be abuse.”
The case of Los Porkys has provoked widespread indignation in Mexico, not least because it took place in the coastal state of Veracruz, which over recent months has come to symbolize the failure of the Mexican state to guarantee even a semblance of the rule of law.
Amid an escalating battle between rival crime factions, thousands of women have gone missing in the state; earlier this month, more than 250 human skulls were discovered at what is believed to be a clandestine drug cartel burial ground. Meanwhile, the state’s former governor Javier Duarte is on the run amid allegations that he stole vast amounts of public money.
The case of Los Porkys has also been held up as an example of the rampant impunity allowed the offspring of Mexico’s elite. Fifteen months after the attack, the victim described her ordeal in a public Facebook post, in an apparent attempt to shame authorities into taking action.
“I have nothing to repent,” she wrote. “I’ve gone drinking. I’ve gone to parties. I’ve worn short skirts like many girls my age … and for that I’m going to be judged? For that I deserved what happened?”