A prosecutor has filed a complaint with Spain’s high court against Luis Rubiales, citing concerns that there could be grounds to charge the football chief with sexual assault as well as coercion, after he planted a kiss on the lips of footballer Jenni Hermoso.
The complaint, which comes days after Hermoso filed a criminal complaint accusing Rubiales of sexual assault, requests that the court place Rubiales under formal investigation. From there, the court can decide whether charges are warranted against Rubiales.
Earlier this week, the prosecutor’s office said that the sentence for a charge of sexual assault ranged from a fine to a prison term of between one and four years.
The complaint filed on Friday – nearly three weeks after Rubiales grabbed Hermoso by the head, pulled her towards him and planted a kiss on her lips after the World Cup final – also urged the court to consider a possible charge of coercion.
“In her statement, [the player] also stated that she and her immediate family suffered constant and repeated pressure from Luis Rubiales and his professional entourage to justify and approve what happened,” the complaint noted, according to the newspaper El País.
“Hermoso suffered a situation of harassment, one that impeded her from living freely and in peace and tranquillity.”
In a statement published late last month, Hermoso said the incident had left her feeling “vulnerable and a victim of aggression”. She characterised the kiss as an “impulsive act, sexist, out of place and without any type of consent from my part”.
Her statement followed days of outrage during which Rubiales sought to brush off critics of the kiss as “idiots and stupid people”, before offering an apology that was described by the country’s acting prime minister, Pedro Sánchez, as insufficient.
Rubiales, 46, later sought to portray the kiss as consensual. In a statement sent to Spanish media last Friday, Rubiales reiterated this claim, arguing that the act was “mutual and consensual”.
Nearly a week after the incident, Rubiales was provisionally suspended by Fifa and ordered to refrain from contact with Hermoso and those close to her. Days later, as uproar continued over the kiss as well as Rubiales grabbing his crotch as La Roja won the Women’s World Cup, the federation withdrew their support for him, demanding that he resign.
Earlier this week, the federation sought to distance itself further from Rubiales with a statement that apologised for the “enormous damage” caused by the actions of its president. Despite their actions, Rubiales has yet to step down from his position. – Guardian