11:11, June 04 248 0 theguardian.com

2020-06-04 11:11:05
Pamplona 'wolf pack' members convicted of separate sexual assault

Four of the five men who gang-raped a young woman at Pamplona’s bull-running festival in July 2016 have been given additional prison sentences after being convicted of sexually abusing another woman in southern Spain two months earlier.

The Pamplona rape shocked the country and nationwide protests erupted after the five men were initially convicted of the lesser offence of sexual abuse.

The five original defendants, who called themselves la manada or “the wolf pack” in their WhatsApp group, had their prison sentences increased last year from nine to 15 years each after the supreme court subsequently found them guilty of rape.

On Thursday, a court in the southern city of Córdoba found four members of the gang guilty of sexually abusing a 21-year-old woman in a car between the Andalucían towns of Torrecampo and Pozoblanco in May 2016.

One of the men filmed the assault and later shared images with the others using WhatsApp. Alfonso Jesús Cabezuelo, Jesús Escudero and Antonio Manuel Guerrero were sentenced to prison terms of two years and 10 months, while José Ángel Prenda was given a four-and-a-half year sentence for videoing and distributing images of the attack.

The woman met the men at a fair and accepted a lift home with them before passing out. In his sentence, the judge said the men took advantage of her unconscious state to touch her in a sexual manner. The victim “was unconscious and so was not able to give any kind of consent”, he said.

After the car reached the woman’s home town of Pozoblanco, one of the men asked the victim to perform oral sex on him.

“When she refused, he hit her in the face, punched her arm and pushed her out of the car while calling her ‘a whore’,” the judge said.

The attack and the subsequent leaking of images on social media left the victim with post-traumatic stress disorder, he added.

He said custodial sentences, and the payment to the victim of fines totalling €13,150 (£11,720), had been imposed given what he termed “the personal circumstances of the defendants, who went on to commit an even more serious crime” in Pamplona.

The defendants have the right to appeal against their sentences.

After the verdict and sentencing, Spain’s equality minister, Irene Montero, tweeted: “Only yes is yes.”

The supreme court in Madrid overturned a lower court’s verdict in the Pamplona case in June last year, ruling that the victim – who was raped orally, vaginally and anally – had been subjected to “a genuinely intimidating scenario in which she never consented to the sexual acts perpetrated by the accused”.

The original proceedings had also been criticised because the judges accepted a report compiled by a private detective hired by some of the defendants into evidence. The detective had followed the woman over several days and produced photographs of her smiling with friends.

The case prompted the then-government to announce a re-examination of Spain’s sexual offences legislation.