Five men were cleared of sexual assault charges in Spain on Friday after a court determined their crime did not fit the legal definition of rape — because the 14-year-old victim was unconscious and didn’t resist during the attack, a report said.
The five suspects were convicted of sexual abuse, a lesser charge, because Spanish law says a sexual assault can only be considered rape if the suspect uses violence to subdue the victim,CNN reported.
The suspects took turns performing sex acts on the 14-year-old after she consumed drugs and alcohol and fell unconscious after a party at an abandoned factory in the town of Manresa, according to the report.
They were sentenced to 10 to 12 years in prison for the attack, CNN reported.
“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,” the Barcelona court said in a press release after the sentencing, according to the report.
The case has sparked new pressure on the Spanish government to reclassify non-consensual sex acts as assaults.