Spanish Supreme Court Upholds 14-Year Sentence for 'El Chicle' in 2005 Rape Case

The Spanish Supreme Court upholds a 14-year sentence for a man who sexually assaulted his underage sister-in-law in 2005, highlighting the long-term impact of such crimes and the importance of thorough investigation, even years later.

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Safak Costu
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Spanish Supreme Court Upholds 14-Year Sentence for 'El Chicle' in 2005 Rape Case

Spanish Supreme Court Upholds 14-Year Sentence for 'El Chicle' in 2005 Rape Case

The Spanish Supreme Court has upheld a 14-year prison sentence for José Enrique Abuín, known as 'El Chicle', for sexually assaulting his underage sister-in-law in 2005. Abuín, who is already serving a life sentence for the 2016 murder and rape of Diana Quer, had requested a reduction in the sentence for the 2005 case, arguing that it was reopened in 2018 just two years before the statute of limitations would have expired. The court rejected this appeal, stating that the victim did not use "the time of the proceedings" to her advantage and that El Chicle did not provide any evidence to justify a reduction in his criminal responsibility.

The Supreme Court's ruling explained that after the sexual assault case was initially dismissed, the victim had to endure the presence of her brother-in-law in the family, along with the denial of the rape and accusations of lying with a false complaint. The court concluded that the harm was done to the victim, who cannot be held responsible for the dismissal, the reopening, or for any spurious motive, nor for the time that elapsed between the dismissal and the reopening.

The victim, who was 17 years old at the time, reported the sexual assault to a friend almost immediately after it occurred in January 2005 in Lousame, A Coruña. Despite her reluctance, she filed a complaint the next day. Abuín was arrested and spent four months in pre-trial detention but denied the incident and managed to convince the judge of his innocence. The Noia court eventually dismissed the case. However, it was reopened after Abuín's conviction for the Diana Quer crime.

During the November 2022 trial in the Provincial Court of A Coruña, the victim testified that Abuín called her on her mobile phone when she was about to catch the bus to go to school. He offered her a ride in his car, and although she was hesitant due to his previous inappropriate advances, which she had complained about to her sister, she ultimately went with him. According to the proven facts, after getting the minor into the car, Abuín drove to the secluded San Mamede park. He took her phone, then took out a large knife and held it near her body as a warning. The judicial account states that he asked her to perform oral sex, which she refused. Abuín then raped her in the vehicle, holding the knife in his hand and near her body as a threat. The victim testified that after forcing her, he told her that this was happening to her "for being a snitch".

Why this matters: This case highlights the long-term impact of sexual assault on victims and the challenges they face in seeking justice. It also underscores the importance of thoroughly investigating and prosecuting such crimes, even when significant time has passed since the offense occurred.

The Supreme Court's decision to uphold the 14-year sentence for José Enrique Abuín in the 2005 rape case of his underage sister-in-law brings a measure of closure and justice for the victim. The court rejected Abuín's appeal for a reduced sentence, emphasizing that the victim cannot be blamed for the initial dismissal of the case or the time that elapsed before it was reopened. The victim's harrowing testimony during the 2022 trial detailed the threats and sexual assault she endured at the hands of Abuín when she was just 17 years old. This ruling, along with Abuín's life sentence for the murder and rape of Diana Quer, holds him accountable for his heinous crimes.

Key Takeaways

  • Spanish court upholds 14-year sentence for 2005 rape of underage sister-in-law
  • Convicted murderer José Enrique Abuín, "El Chicle", appealed for reduced sentence
  • Court rejected appeal, stating victim not responsible for case dismissal and reopening
  • Victim, 17 at time, reported assault but Abuín initially avoided conviction
  • Ruling upholds accountability for Abuín's crimes despite time elapsed before conviction