Spanish Prosecutors Accuse Luis Rubiales of Sexual Assault

Jenni Hermoso filed a complaint at the National Court on Tuesday, formally accusing Luis Rubiales of sexual assault.

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Abishek Goswami
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Spanish public prosecutors have filed a lawsuit against football chief Luis Rubiales for sexual assault after he kissed player Jenni Hermoso on the lips without her consent. Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) president Rubiales faced backlash after a video went viral on the internet. Rubiales kissed Hermoso during the medal ceremony of Spain's Women's World Cup triumph in Sydney on August 20.

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"The prosecutors request that Luis Rubiales be questioned as an accused and Jenni Hermoso as a victim," the prosecutors' office said in a statement. It happened after Hermoso filed a complaint at the National Court on Tuesday, formally accusing Rubiales of sexual assault.

If the judge accepts the request, a magistrate will be assigned to head an investigation. It will end either with a recommendation for the case to go to trial or dismissed. Under Spanish law, sexual assault includes a wide array of crimes from online abuse and groping to rape, each with different penalties. The punishment for a non-consensual kiss can range from a fine to four years in prison.

Hermoso's complaint against Luis Rubiales:

Hermoso said the unwanted kiss had left her feeling "vulnerable and like the victim of an assault". On social media, she described it as "an impulsive, macho act, out of place. There were no type of consent on her part.

She also accused Rubiales of pressuring her to speak in his defense immediately after it went viral on social media. World football governing body FIFA provisionally suspended Rubiales for 90 days after he refused to resign from his post. 81 players went on strike from the women's side in protest after Rubiales' "false feminism" speech.

In a statement last week Rubiales reiterated that the kiss was "a mutual and consensual act" with "overflowing jubilation on both sides". The RFEF apologized for the "totally unacceptable behaviour" of Rubiales on Tuesday and fired Jorge Vilda.

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