UPDATE: The LA Times has reported that Mexico's Plenary Council of the Federal Judiciary suspended Judge Anuar Gonzalez from Veracruz for an indefinite period of time. This is due to how he ruled the sexual assault case involving a 17-year-old.
The judiciary body is also conducting an investigation into how the judge handled the case.
As the investigation is ongoing, the judge's ruling is now on hold.
It's incredibly encouraging to see this development as this particular case could have deterred other victims of sexual assault and rape from coming forward with their accusations out of fear of how Mexico's justice system would handle their cases.
Judge Anuar Gonzalez from Veracruz ruled that Diego Cruz, 21, was not guilty of abducting and sexually assaulting a schoolgirl because his intentions didn't include “gaining pleasure from the incident,” The Guardian reported.
The controversial case is under heavy scrutiny because Cruz is one of four wealthy young men known as “Los Porkys” on social media, who's also from the affluent city of Boca del Rio.
The 17-year-old victim was forced into the car of one of these wealthy young men, which the judge acknowledged, but she was never “helpless,” he added.
Cruz and others were accused of touching the girl's breasts and penetrating her vagina with their fingers. Gonzalez said that because the young man didn't act with “carnal intent,” he wasn't culpable.
Once Cruz was released, he fled to Spain, sparking widespread outrage in Mexico. As it stands, it seems that the wealthy have a better chance at getting away with crimes than the rest of the country.
“He sexually touched her, but because he didn’t enjoy it, it’s not sexual abuse?” Estefanía Vela Barba, a gender issues activist who works at the Center for Teaching and Research in Economics, asked reporters.
“Since there was no pleasure in the act, it was intended to cause humiliation,” Vela Barba said. Because the men were “touching her, they were bothering her, so for the judge, if the intention wasn’t pleasure, it’s not sexual assault.”
“There’s no disputing the facts. It’s not some crazy woman saying this, it’s coming from the judge’s mouth and he’s saying that if they touch you against your will, it might not be abuse,” she concluded.
Could more cases of sexual abuse be ignored by the law because those involved are seen as members of the country's elite?
According to Amnesty International, Mexican law enforcement has the nasty habit of using sexual violence on women to secure confessions or even to ensure their crime statistics look better.
It's time that more news organizations start paying attention to this horrible trend so that pressure may build and tangible changes may materialize.
Banner and thumbnail credit: Reuters, Vincent West