A 12-year-old girl with the cognitive ability of a nine-year-old reported that she had had consensual sex with her boyfriend and separately with his roommate, both adult males. A medical exam confirmed she had engaged in intercourse. The roommate came forward to the police, saying that he wished to clear his name and felt “remorse” because he “had been with” the girl. The two men were charged under a statute that outlaws sexual relations, even without violence or intimidation, to the detriment of a woman who is “vulnerable” because of her age. A girl under 13 is per se vulnerable under the statute. At trial, the girl’s mother and a psychologist testified that the girl had told them that she falsely accused the defendants because the real perpetrator, who had subsequently died, had threatened her. But the psychologist further explained the girl’s contradiction was the product of cognitive limitations and did not mean that the defendants were innocent. For his part, the roommate admitted that he had made the above-quoted statements to the police, but added that he made them under coercion. Based on that admission, the trial court convicted the roommate and sentenced him to over 17 years of imprisonment. The roommate appealed, arguing that the trial court failed to articulate the grounds for finding each element of the alleged offense. The appellate court denied the appeal in a conclusory opinion. On a cassation appeal, the Supreme Court agreed with the roommate’s argument, vacated the appellate decision, and remanded the appeal for rehearing before a different appellate court.
Sentencia nº 660 de Tribunal Supremo de Justicia (Número de Expediente: C15-3)