Spanish prosecutors file sexual harassment and coercion lawsuit against disgraced soccer federation president Luis Rubiales over Jenni Hermoso’s kiss after the World Cup win
- Rubiales kissed Hermoso on the lips after Spain won the Women’s World Cup
- If he is found guilty of sexual assault, he could face up to four years in prison
- Prosecutors said Rubiales may also have committed coercion
Spanish prosecutors have filed a sexual harassment and coercion lawsuit against Luis Rubiales for kissing a player on the lips without her consent after the Women’s World Cup final, the country’s prosecutors said Friday.
Rubiales, the now-suspended president of the Spanish Football Federation, kissed Jenni Hermoso on the lips during the medal ceremony after Spain defeated England to win the title on August 20 in Sydney, Australia.
Prosecutors presented the lawsuit to Spain’s National Court in Madrid two days after Hermoso formally accused Rubiales of sexual assault.
Under a sexual consent law passed last year, Rubiales could face a fine or a prison sentence of one to four years if found guilty of sexual assault.
Prosecutors added Friday that Rubiales may have committed coercion when he pressured them to come forward in his defense immediately after the scandal over his behavior broke, according to Hermoso.
Luis Rubiales was pictured kissing Jenni Hermoso after the World Cup final last month – the suspended president of the Spanish Football Federation has been accused of sexual assault and coercion
Hermoso (pictured) claimed the kiss was non-consensual and lodged a formal complaint
Rubiales could face up to four years in prison if found guilty of sexual assault
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Rubiales has insisted the kiss was consensual. Hermoso has denied this in statements from her and her players’ union.
Prosecutors have asked the judge that Rubiales appear in court to give a preliminary statement.
If the state court judge agrees to hear the case, it would result in a formal judicial investigation that ends with a recommendation that the case be either dismissed or sent to trial.
Prosecutors had given Hermoso, 33, 15 days to accuse Rubiales of sexually abusing her by kissing her on the lips without consent.
She did so on Wednesday, filing the complaint in person at the Spanish prosecutor’s office headquarters in Madrid. Without them, prosecutors would not have been able to prosecute Rubiales.
Hermoso described the kiss as “an impulsive, sexist act, out of place and without any consent from me.”
Rubiales, who apologized for grabbing his crotch in front of Spain’s Queen Letizia and her 16-year-old daughter during the post-match celebrations, said in a lengthy statement last week: “The spontaneity and luck of this historic Moments made us carry the ball a mutual and consensual act, a product of great enthusiasm.
“At no point was there any aggression, in fact there was not the slightest bit of discomfort but an overflowing joy in both of us.”
Rubiales’ retired hairdresser mother Angeles Bejar, 72, called off her hunger strike at a church in the hometown of Motril, near Granada, where her son lives, last Wednesday after she was hospitalized 48 hours after her protest.
The President’s mother, Angeles Bejar, went on a hunger strike in support of her son, but was later hospitalized
On Monday, protesters gathered for a demonstration to demand Rubiales’ resignation from the RFEF
She said she created it to get Jenni to tell “the truth” about the kiss. Before falling ill, she said from inside the church, “I just want the truth to be told.”
“She knows my son is very honest. If she tells the truth, everything will be fixed.’
Referring to the World Cup kiss that led to the so-called “Kiss Gate” scandal, she added, “It was an anecdote, as she said herself, and look how far it’s come.”
“She should have a conscience and act on it.”
“My son is very concerned and has asked me not to continue, to stop, but I will be here until I drop and my body can continue.”