A 17-year-old girl was allegedly forced into a car and sexually assaulted by a group of men as she left a New Year's party in 2015 in Mexico. One of those men was just acquitted because, the judge found, his touching of the girl's breasts and penetration of her genitals was done without "lascivious intent," the Los Angeles Times reports. Per the judge's ruling dismissing the pederasty charges, "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," the AP reports. Diego Cruz, now 21, and the three other men allegedly involved come from "prominent" families in the wealthy city of Boca del Rio in the coastal state of Veracruz, the Guardian reports. The judge also found that the victim was never "helpless" during the incident. Prosecutors say they will appeal the ruling.
The case was already quite controversial in Mexico, where the men involved have been nicknamed "Los Porkys" after the raunchy film of the same name, because of how long it took authorities to investigate and bring a case. Cruz fled briefly to Spain but was extradited back to Mexico to face charges. Of the other men allegedly involved, one was present but not accused of taking part; Enrique Capitaine Marin was detained in March 2016 and is awaiting a ruling; and Jorge Coahuila has not yet been caught. Activists, and the victim's family, are outraged by the judge's ruling on Cruz, saying it sets a dangerous precedent. "In Mexico, the last thing the system of justice provides is justice," says the victim's father. The case has come to represent "the rampant impunity allowed the offspring of Mexico’s elite," the Guardian notes. (Read more sexual assault stories.)