Monday, July 15, 2024

ARGENTINA | 04-09-2023 16:04

Palermo gang rape victim tells court she didn’t consent

Six detainees could be sentenced to up to 20 years in prison for February 2022 gang rape; Trial, which is taking place behind closed doors, lasts into September.

Six men accused of gang raping a 21-year-old woman in one of Buenos Aires’ most popular and wealthy neighbourhoods in February 2022 face up to 20 years in prison if found guilty. 

Ángel Pascual Ramos (aged 24), Lautaro Dante Ciongo Pasotti (25), Thomas Fabián Domínguez (22), Franco Jesús Lykan (24), Alexis Steven Cuzzoni (21) and Ignacio Retondo (24) are charged with "aggravated sexual abuse" as co-perpetrators and face up to 20 years in jail if found guilty. 

All six are currently remanded in custody while the high-profile trial continues. More than 30 witnesses are due to give evidence during it.

The victim, who is not being identified, gave evidence to Buenos Aires City Oral Criminal and Correctional Court (TOC) 14 last Friday, telling the judges that she “never” consented to sexual relations with the accused.

"It's not my sexual inclination," said the 22-year-old, whose identity is not being disclosed in order to protect her.

Two and a half years on from the episode, she is still undergoing psychological treatment, her legal team told Judges Gabriel Vega, Gustavo Valle and Domingo Altieri.

When asked about what happened on the day of the attack, the young woman reiterated that she did not remember anything. Toxicological studies on her blood showed that she had traces of alcohol, marijuana and amphetamines in her body when the incident took place.

The complainant's lawyer argues that all six should be convicted as co-perpetrators due to their “necessary participation” in the crime in order for it to take place.

"There could not have been consent because she was not in a position to have given it. We have the toxicological [tests], the testimonies and the images that [show] she could not sit upright in a chair," said lawyer Hugo Figueroa.

Ramos, who also gave testimony on Friday, denies the allegations against him. “I did not abuse anyone, there was no plan to abuse,” the 24-year-old told the court.

He is the only of the accused who has decided to give evidence.

The court heard earlier in the trial that DNA testing revealed traces of pre-seminal fluid belonging to Ramos on the body of the defendant. Traces of his genetic fingerprint were also found under the girl’s fingernails – a fact that the prosecution says shows the victim tried to resist having sex.

The alleged abuse took place on the night of February 28, 2022. The young woman met the defendants at the Espacio Ro Techno Bar on Thames Street, Palermo, and after spending some hours together, she was later taken to a nearby white VW Gol blanco car where the alleged rape occurred.

Local shopkeepers saw a girl being assaulted inside the car and rang the emergency number 911 while neighbours also emerged to confront the rapists and rescue the girl.



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