There has been a backlash on social media against a judge in Mexico who has ordered that a suspect in a sexual assault case should not be jailed.
Judge Anuar González said that the suspect, Diego Cruz, had penetrated a 17-year-old girl with his fingers but had done so “without carnal intent”.
The district judge said there was not enough evidence to jail Mr Cruz on charges of sexual assault.
The girl’s father said the judge’s arguments were “abominable”.
He said that “if this is approved, then any adult can touch a minor and by simply arguing that it wasn’t done lasciviously, that he didn’t have any intention to copulate, he’s going to get off,” the father argued.
The prosecutor’s office in the state of Veracruz said it would appeal against Judge González’s decision.
Mr Cruz is currently still in detention. He was arrested in June 2016 in the Spanish capital, Madrid, to where he had fled after being accused of sexually abusing the 17-year old.
Mr Cruz was one of four young men suspected of forcing the 17-year-old girl into a car after a New Year’s Eve party on 1 January 2015 in the port city of Veracruz.
Three of the four – Mr Cruz, Enrique Capitaine and Jorge Cotaita – have been charged with sexually abusing a minor.
Mr Capitaine is in prison awaiting trial and Mr Cotaita is on the run.
Judge González’s ruling in Mr Cruz’s case was made public on Monday.
He said that while Mr Cruz had touched the girl’s breasts and “introduced his fingers in her vagina” he did not have a “lascivious” intent nor the intention to “copulate”.
Judge González ruled that Mr Cruz was therefore not guilty of sexual abuse but of “incidental touching and rubbing” and should not be jailed.
Mexicans have expressed their outrage on social media after news of the ruling spread.
The case, which has been dubbed “Porkys” in reference to a 1981 film featuring a group of high-school students out to lose their virginity, had already received much media coverage after the girl and her father denounced the fact that for months no arrests had been made.
All three of the young men charged in connection with the case come from wealthy and influential families in Veracruz, a fact which many blame for the slow progress of the cases against them.
But Judge González’s ruling has caused indignation well beyond the state of Veracruz.
Many expressed their outrage under the hashtag #JuezPorky (#JudgePorky), asking if he would have come to the same conclusion if the alleged victim had been a member of his family.
Others asked how much he had been paid to reach his verdict.
Twitter user Jorge Arturo demanded that he be replaced and imprisoned “as an accomplice” in what he called “the most evident case of corruption in Mexico”.
Juan Carlos Altamirano said he shared the indignation about the judge’s decision but was opposed to the publication of pictures and threats made against the judge’s family.
Eréndira Derbez said the judge had sent a clear message: “that the desire of a man is more important than the integrity of a woman, her body is not hers”.
The father of the 17-year-old at the centre of the case said he remained confident that Mr Cruz would not be released.