The judge of the National Court investigating the case of alleged sexual assault and coercion by Luis Rubiales against Jenni Hermoso has prohibited the former president of the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) from approaching less than 200 meters from the player and communicating with her as the investigation progresses. He rejects, however, the Public Ministry’s request that Rubiales have to appear in court every 15 days. He also does not agree to the request of the soccer player’s lawyer, who is prosecuting the private prosecution, to preventively seize the assets of the former federation leader.
Rubiales’ resignation does not close the crisis in women’s football
The decision by Judge Francisco de Jorge has taken place after the declaration of Rubiales as being investigated in the framework of the case opened for the non-consensual kiss that he imposed on the player’s mouth after the victory of the Spanish women’s team in the World Cup in Australia. and the alleged coercion to which he subjected the victim to support his version that the kiss was a gesture of complicity between two friends. Rubiales has answered all the parties in person for 45 minutes and has denied the lack of consent and that he had harassed the soccer player, according to several sources present at the interrogation. He has arrived accompanied by his lawyer, Olga Tubau, and has declined to make statements to journalists.
Hermoso’s lawyer, Carla Vall, has assured the media that the appearance of the former president of the RFEF “strengthens the bases” of what the player has maintained to date. That is, it was not a consensual kiss. “Everyone saw the images. And thanks to legal and social change we can maintain that there was a lack of consent on the part of Rubiales,” she added. Vall has also stated that Hermoso is “affected” by “the humiliating act that she experienced in the stadium” and has asked for “adequate treatment to emotionally sustain this process.”
The soccer player has not yet been summoned to testify, but she has made it clear in several public statements that the kiss was not consensual. Minutes after it occurred, she expressed in a video recorded in her locker room that she did not like her. And in a subsequent statement she stated that she had felt “vulnerable” and “a victim of aggression” as a result of “an impulsive, sexist, out-of-character act” and “without any type of consent” on her part.
In its complaint, the Public Ministry considers that the kiss that Rubiales imposed on the soccer player’s mouth while he grabbed her head with both hands constitutes a crime of sexual assault provided for in article 178 of the Penal Code. This provision provides for sentences of one to four years in prison in the case of sexual assaults in which there is no intimidation, violence or annulment of will, although the sentencing body may impose the prison sentence in its lower half (one year to two and a half years) or a fine of eighteen to twenty-four months depending on “the minor nature of the act and the personal circumstances of the guilty party.”
But, in addition, the prosecutor considers that Rubiales also committed a crime of coercion – provided for and punishable in article 172 – due to the “constant and repeated pressure” to which he himself and his entourage allegedly subjected Hermoso and his family and friends to to justify and publicly approve an act committed “against his will.” The prosecutor, based on the victim’s testimony, understands that she suffered “a situation of harassment, against the development of her life in peace, tranquility and freely.”
Last Monday, the Central Investigative Court 1 of the National Court, headed by Francisco de Jorge, found sufficient evidence of a crime in the Prosecutor’s complaint and decided to admit it for processing, thus initiating the investigation. The judge complained to several media outlets, including RTVE, about the videos of the forced kiss “from all angles”, as well as the moments before and after, including those of the celebration in the locker room and on the bus.
Some of these videos have been part of Rubiales’ defense strategy before FIFA, where he sent images in which the players – Hermoso among them – are seen celebrating their historic victory on the bus and making some jokes about the forced kiss. from the now former leader to the footballer, who had already expressed in the locker room that she had not liked the kiss and who later explained in a statement that the situation had been a “shock” for her due to the context of the celebration.