Mexico suspends judge for freeing rich suspect

Diego Gabriel Cruz Alonso is one of four men in their 20s accused of dragging the 17-year-old schoolgirl into a car outside a club on New Year's Day in 2015 in the port city of Veracruz.
Diego Gabriel Cruz Alonso is one of four men in their 20s accused of dragging the 17-year-old schoolgirl into a car outside a club on New Year's Day in 2015 in the port city of Veracruz. PHOTO: SCREENGRAB FROM YOUTUBE

MEXICO CITY • A Mexican judge has been suspended for freeing a rich young man accused of sexually assaulting a teenage girl, after ruling that the suspect had no intent to satisfy his sexual desire.

Diego Gabriel Cruz Alonso is one of four men in their 20s accused of dragging the 17-year-old schoolgirl into a car outside a club on New Year's Day in 2015 in the port city of Veracruz, UPI website reported.

The victim was allegedly sexually assaulted by two of the men and raped by a third.

Dismissing the charges against Mr Alonso, 21, last Monday, Judge Anuar Gonzalez Hemadi said that although Mr Alonso violated the victim, he did so without sexual intent.

"Touching or incidental rubbing, be it in a public or private place, would not be considered a sexual act if the element of intent to satisfy a sexual desire at the expense of the passive subject is absent," said the judge in his ruling.

"It is possible to consider that there was no purpose to copulate."

Although the girl testified that the alleged attackers seized her mobile phone and laughed when she asked them to stop violating her, the judge ruled that she "was not defenceless, given that she had the possibility of changing places (in the car) and thus avoiding the contact with the suspect", the Associated Press reported.

Mexicans enraged by the logic behind the ruling and the apparent impunity for the wealthy young men posted photos of Judge Hemadi on social media with the slogan "Don't forget this face!".

Mexico's federal judiciary council said last Wednesday it had opened a probe and suspended the judge.

The victim's father, who reportedly fought to press charges against the men after bringing the alleged assault to media attention, said the ruling was "inconceivable".

"I am surprised and angry. Two years of fighting, battling, of rowing against the current so that they conclude this... they are giving him legal protection two years later.

"This is a joke, it's absurd."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on April 09, 2017, with the headline 'Mexico suspends judge for freeing rich suspect'. Print Edition | Subscribe