Spanish Court Rules That Sex With Children Is Part Of Gypsy Culture

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A Spanish court has acquitted a man accused of continuously sexually abusing a 12-year-old Romani girl.

Despite Spanish law prohibiting minors under 16 from consenting to sex, the Provincial Court of Ciudad Real ruled that the man should be granted a legal exception.

The court cited gypsy culture among the reasons behind its ruling and delivered a full acquittal, saying “there was no controversy” since the relationship fell within the Romani community’s cultural norms, where sexual intercourse and marriage can be common at a young age.

Spain’s equality watchdog as slammed the decision as an “absolute disgrace” and a failure to uphold the rights of gypsy minors.

RT reports: The controversial ruling on the case of a 20-year-old gypsy man who has had “a relationship similar to a marriage” with a 12-year-old girl was publicized by local media last week. The couple began their relationship back in 2022, with both families of the man and the girl aware of it, the court has established.

The girl ultimately became pregnant with twins and went to a doctor, who notified the authorities of the questionable nature of her relationship. Given the fact that the age of sexual consent is set under Spanish law at 16, her ‘spouse’ ended up detained and charged with continuous sexual abuse of a minor, with prosecutors demanding the court sentence him to at least 11 years and six months in jail.

The court, however, opted to acquit the man instead, arguing that the relationship between an adult and a minor was “part of the cultural and social sphere of the gypsy community.” Moreover, the defendant claimed he was not actually aware of the true age of the girl, insisting he had thought she was around 15 years old at the time their relationship began, with the court deeming such an excuse to be “credible” enough.

The judiciary also argued the legal age of consent can be disregarded in the case, arguing the age difference between the two was not large while both showed similar physical and psychological development. It also noted that the relationship between the two has actually been “always consensual in the sense of a romantic relationship.”

The controversial ruling has been strongly condemned by Beatriz Carrillo, the head of the Department of Equal Treatment, Non-Discrimination and Against Racism within the country’s Equality Ministry. The official, an ethnic gypsy herself and long-time advocate for the rights of the minority’s women, branded the ruling an “absolute disgrace.” The decision constituted a gross failure to protect the girl’s rights, the official said, stressing that the country’s “Penal Code does not exclude the protection of gypsy minors.”

Niamh Harris
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