A Veracruz judge who granted an injunction in favor of a young man accused of sexually assaulting a minor has been suspended and removed from the case.
Judge Anuar González Hemadi ruled that the evidence against Diego Gabriel Cruz Alonso in the case of the sexual assault of Dafne Fernández was insufficient, dismissed the charges and ordered the suspect be released.
The judge, whose ruling is being appealed by prosecutors, dismissed the charges because there was no evidence that the defendant acted with “lascivious intent.”
In January 2015, Fernández, then 17, was leaving a nightclub with a friend in the city of Boca del Río when she was forced into a vehicle by four college students.
Cruz, along with Enrique Capitaine, Jorge Cotaita and Gerardo Rodriguez, all from affluent families, took her mobile phone away before taking her to one of their homes in the Costa de Oro community where they allegedly assaulted her.
Fernández has testified that one of the men fondled her breasts and the other inserted his fingers into her vagina. But the judge said “an incidental touching or fondling will not be considered sexual acts if proof is not presented that it was done to satisfy a sexual desire.”
He also ruled that Fernández was not “defenseless,” which he claimed the law required, because she had been able to move to the front seat of the car after pleading with her attackers to stop.
Cruz fled to Spain about a year ago, where he was arrested by that country’s authorities in July and extradited to Mexico in January.
The state prosecutor’s office said it would appeal the ruling because it violated the rights of a sexual attack victim.
A public outcry and alleged attacks against his family represented an impediment to his continuing on the case, González said in information published yesterday, describing the outcry as “social lynching.”
Hours later, the Federal Judiciary Council (CJF), which oversees the courts, announced González had been suspended pending an investigation.
The CJF said the defendant would remain in custody while the ruling was appealed.
The Interior Secretariat commended the council for its “prompt” performance in suspending González, warning that a lack of gender perspective in law enforcement could lead to a justification of violence against women.
Through its National Commission to Prevent and Eradicate Violence against Women (Conavim), the secretariat stated that the case of Fernández’s assault offered an important opportunity to the judicial branch of the federal government to set a precedent in the objective and subjective assessment criteria in crimes of pederasty, abuse and rape.
This, continued the statement, will allow local and federal judges to have clearer guidelines to avoid impunity.
A researcher from the National Institute of Criminal Sciences concurred with the Interior Secretariat, stating that the controversial injunction could be an invitation to open the debate about the state’s obligation to guarantee the enforcement of the law with a gender perspective.
The four attackers in the case became known as The Porkys, named after a 1981 film about misbehaving teens. On social media, González has become known as “Judge Porky.”