Spanish court again refuses gang rape conviction over attack

MADRID (AP) — A Spanish court has upheld a sexual abuse conviction and nine-year prison sentence for five men who attacked an 18-year-old woman, but judges again acquitted them of gang rape.

A lower court handed down the sentence last year, triggering protests in two dozen Spanish cities by women’s rights advocates angry about what they saw as the court’s leniency.

Lawyers for the victim appealed, asking for a gang rape conviction, which carries a heavier sentence. Lawyers for the five men argued the sex was consensual.

The Navarra Superior Court ruled Wednesday the five men did not use force, even though they took advantage of the woman’s vulnerability.

Prosecutors said the men boasted about the 2016 attack on a WhatsApp group named “La Manada,” or “The (animal) Pack.”

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