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Spain Rocked by Alleged Gang Rape of 11-Year-Old by Minors

Barcelona, Spain map
Barcelona, Spain map

BARCELONA — There's fierce debate in Spain about how to halt growing violence among youngsters as the country was rocked this week by news of an 11-year-old girl who was allegedly gang raped by minors near Barcelona.

Catalan television said the attack occurred in November at a shopping center in Badalona, some 10 km north of the Spanish capital, with the victim forced at knifepoint to enter the toilets by a group of six minors who then raped her.

Asked by AFP, the Mossos d'Esquadra regional police confirmed they had received a complaint in December about a sexual assault — which covers a range of offenses, including rape — involving minors.

But they refused to give further details, citing the age of those involved. Prosecutors said they could not confirm “any information about the lawsuit because the inquiry was being conducted behind closed doors.”

Local authorities in Badalona, a seaside town of 223,000 inhabitants, expressed “willingness” to join the prosecution in any future trial “to defend the victim of the group sexual assault.”

Under Spanish law, any third party can join a prosecution, even if they have suffered no direct harm.

However, with media reports saying most of the alleged attackers were under 14 — the legal age for criminal responsibility in Spain — few are likely to be brought to trial.

Several weeks ago, the juvenile prosecutor's office requested that both of the eldest, who are 14, be held in a special center, but the judge agreed only in one case, with the other allowed out on probation, El Pais newspaper, a Spanish language daily newspaper, said.

Last year, police investigated 1,023 minors under the age of 14 for various offenses, of which around 100 involved a sexual offense according to La Vanguardia, Barcelona's main newspaper.