ANDALUCIA’S Superior Court of Justice has cut a jail sentence for a defendant convicted of sexually assaulting a woman with Asperger’s syndrome in Garrucha in Almeria following an appeal.
The court, sitting in Granada, ruled the defendant would now serve seven years in prison after it found the man did not know about the woman’s disability.
The Superior Court upheld the Almeria Provincial Court decision which ordered the man to not go within 300 metres of the woman or communicate with her for nine years. He will also have to pay out €15,000 in compensation to her.
The court the defendant met the woman at a gym in Garrucha in 2016 when she was 21 years old. Prosecutors said they were alone in the spinning room when the man grabbed the woman from behind, held her by the waist and hips and stroked her buttocks.
He then put his fingers down her underwear before the woman told him to stop. She left after the incident.
The court ruled it was impossible to determine if the man knew the woman was mentally disabled. Witnesses including her work colleagues and hairdresser told justices they also did not know she had Asperger’s syndrome, a form of autism that makes social interaction difficult. The court found her condition to be mild.
Almeria’s Provincial Court previously ruled the defendant had taken advantage of the victim’s vulnerability to make unwanted sexual advances on her.
Andalucia’s Superior Court upheld parts of the Almeria court’s ruling which found repeated offences to be an aggravating factor. It also rejected the defendant’s claim as part of his appeal that the woman’s statement did not prove beyond reasonable doubt that he committed the assault.
The court ruled her account of events contained no contradiction and was corroborated by other statements.