Spanish Court Clears Five Men Of Rape Because Unconscious Teen Didn’t Fight Back

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Under Spanish law, a sexual assault must include violence or intimidation to qualify as a rape.

Five men were cleared of rape charges on Thursday in Barcelona, Spain, after the court determined the 14-year-old girl they assaulted was unconscious and unable to fight back.

According to The Hill, Spanish law dictates that a rape only occurs when the perpetrator uses violence or intimidation. The men were instead convicted on the lesser charge of sexual abuse and will serve 10 to 12 years in prison.

The court’s website indicates that the men took turns assaulting the unconscious teen during a party in 2016: "The sexual attack on the victim was extremely intense and especially denigrating, and in addition, it was produced on a minor who was in a helpless situation.”

However, because the girl was "in a state of unconsciousness ... without being able to determine and accept or oppose the sexual relations maintained with defendants, who could perform sexual acts without using any type of violence or intimidation."

CNN reported that the case renewed pressure on the government to change the law and classify any sexual act performed without consent as assault.

Neither The Hill nor CNN reported the identity of the victim or perpetrators.

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