Transfer of the accused to the Estepona courts after being arrested in June 2018. / CHARO MÁRQUEZ

Estepona sex attack police officers spared jail after rape charge reduced to abuse

An agreement between the legal teams of the accused and the victim, supported by the Prosecutor's Office, allows the officers to avoid prison in exchange for a sex education programme

JUAN CANO

There was no trial. The accusation against two Local Police officers from Estepona who were facing a possible 30-year prison sentence for raping a young woman in 2018 ended in an agreement with the victim that has allowed them to avoid prison after a considerable reduction in the sentence.

Both the public prosecution and the private prosecution, brought by the victim, requested 30 and 33 years in prison, respectively, as they considered that the acts constituted rape and fell under articles 178, 179 and 180 of the Penal Code, which provide for sentences of 12 to 15 years.

They followed the Supreme Court's guidelines and considered each of them to be the perpetrators of a rape and necessary co-operators of the rape committed by the other, which meant doubling the sentencing requests. The private prosecution added an offence against public health on the grounds that the police officers forced the victim to take cocaine.

However, as stated in the sentence, to which SUR has had access, the parties reached an agreement on 22 April and presented a joint document with a new legal qualification of the facts, which went from rape to abuse, and from a sentence of 30 years to only 24 months.

The two agents have accepted this new account of the facts, which has led to a sentence of conformity - which implies an admission of guilt - for two crimes of sexual abuse under article 181.4 of the Penal Code, that is, without violence or intimidation and with carnal access, which is punishable by four to ten years' imprisonment.

The reduction, to two years, arises from applying mitigating circumstance including compensating the victim with the sum of 80,000 euros that they had paid into the court account during the process.

The conviction entails from employment or public office, a five-year probation period and a 500-metre restraining order with respect to the victim, who they will not be able to communicate with either.

Given that neither of them had a criminal record neither the legal team of the victim nor the Prosecutor's Office opposed granting the police officers a three-year suspended sentence.

The Eighth Section of the Provincial Court agreed to the suspension of the sentence, although conditional on their not committing a crime again and that both submit to a sexual education programme.

However, one of the magistrates, the president of the court, Pedro Molero, issued a private opinion in which he disagreed with the decision of his colleagues, who he criticised for acting with "certain automatism" without taking into account the "criminal dangerousness" of the authors, among other things.

The attack took place at dawn on June 2018 in a flat in Estepona where the victim, a holidaymaker from Madrid, was staying with friends.