Spanish state prosecutors have filed a lawsuit against Luis Rubiales for sexual assault and coercion for kissing a player on the lips without her consent after the Women’s World Cup final, the country’s prosecutors’ office said on Friday, September 8.
Rubiales, the now-suspended president of the Spanish soccer federation, kissed Jenni Hermoso on the lips during the awards ceremony after Spain beat England to win the title on August 20 in Sydney, Australia.
Prosecutors presented the suit to Spain’s National Court in Madrid two days after Hermoso formally accused Rubiales of sexual assault.
According to 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 on Friday that Rubiales could have committed an act of coercion when, according to Hermoso, he pressured her to speak out in his defence immediately after the scandal erupted regarding his behaviour.
Rubiales has insisted the kiss was consensual. Hermoso has denied that in statements issued by her and her players’ union.
Prosecutors have asked the judge that Rubiales appear before a court to give preliminary testimony.
If the National Court judge agrees the hear the case, it would lead to a formal court investigation that will end with a recommendation for the case to either be dismissed or go to trial.
Prosecutors had given Hermoso, 33, a time span of 15 days to accuse Rubiales of sexually assaulting her by kissing her on the lips without consent.
She did so on Wednesday, filing the complaint in person at the Spanish State Prosecution Service HQ in Madrid. Without it, state prosecutors would have been unable to prosecute Rubiales.
Hermoso has described the kiss as ‘an impulsive, sexist act, out of place and without any type of consent on my part.’
Rubiales, who has apologised for grabbing his crotch during post-match celebrations in front of Spain’s Queen Letizia and her 16-year-old daughter, said in a lengthy statement last week: ‘The spontaneity and happiness of the historic moment led us to carry out a mutual and consensual act, a product of great enthusiasm.
‘At no time was there any aggression, indeed, there was not even the slightest discomfort, but an overflowing joy in both of us.’