CRIME

"You and I are going to meet again one of these days," rapist tells judge

Convicted pedophile 'El Boca' is facing more jail time after an alleged assault

José Franco de la Cruz, alias El Boca, speaks to reporters on leaving jail in April.
José Franco de la Cruz, alias El Boca, speaks to reporters on leaving jail in April.Juan Ferreras (EFE)

It was Saturday July 14, 2012 and a Madrid courtroom was the scene of a violent confrontation between a judge and a rape suspect.

After he was meticulously questioned, "El Boca" - who was released from prison in April after serving a long sentence for raping and killing a nine-year-old girl in Huelva in 1991 - suddenly got angry.

"You have ruined my life, but I haven't done anything. I am innocent, you fucker," he thundered at the judge while in handcuffs. "You and I are going to meet again one of these days."

Judge Adolfo Carretero ordered the police to remove José Franco de la Cruz, alias El Boca, from the court. But before, the judge also had some choice words for the defendant.

"Yes, you are going to jail because you are a danger to society, a flight risk, you have a past record, and because the victim identified you."

In the early 1990s, El Boca had the entire country on edge when his heinous crime in Huelva was discovered. Ana María Jerez Cano disappeared one night during Carnival celebrations. Police and residents searched for weeks for the missing girl, only to find her body some 31 days later, dumped in a river. She was nude and had been decapitated.

You are going to jail because you are a danger to society and a flight risk"

El Boca - some say he got his nickname because he was a fan of Argentina's famed Boca Juniors soccer club; others say it is because of his fleshy mouth - had only been out for about three months after serving 21 years in prison when he was arrested again in Madrid.

El Boca had a long rap sheet. Since 1982, 17 charges had been filed against him, including attempted murder, armed robbery and making threats.

When he was released from a Morón de la Frontera jail, on April 3 of this year, dozens of reporters were waiting for him. El Boca was lucky that the Huelva High Court had decided not to apply the so-called Parot doctrine, which would have meant he had to serve 30 years of his entire 44-year-sentence, even though Ana Mariá's parents had called for him to remain in custody.

As part of his sentence, El Boca was not allowed to go back to Huelva, so he decided to come to Madrid where he found room in a homeless shelter. But he was later thrown out because of his violent conduct.

The 48-year-old Huelva native was still receiving the 500-euro allowance afforded to all ex-convicts. When he received the money, he would celebrate with two female friends he had met at the hostel, taking them out for drinks.

On July 11, the crime of which El Boca is now accused allegedly took place. Shortly after midnight, an inebriated 42-year-old woman, looking tattered from years of drug abuse, approached the shelter.

Since 1982, 17 charges have been filed against José Franco de la Cruz

"Can I ask you something?" asked El Boca, who had also been drinking.

Even though it was dark, the woman immediately recognized him.

"No, I am in a rush. I haven't taken my methadone today," she told him. The woman had heard many things about El Boca, none of them good.

According to her testimony before the judge, El Boca pulled out a knife, held it to her neck and forced her on her knees. "Get down, or I will kill you right here," he told her, forcing the woman to perform oral sex on him.

After the alleged assault, the woman says she told the shelter employees what happened. She stayed there until 8am, when an ambulance crew attended to her, and the police went after El Boca.

"Did he ejaculate in your mouth?" Judge Carretero asked the victim,

"Yes, it made me sick," she replied. "I started to vomit."

El Boca denies everything. "No, I am innocent. I don't know this woman at all."

The judge also admonished the shelter workers for waiting until the morning to call the police and Samur emergency services.

"We don't have jurisdiction over what goes on outside the shelter," they told him.

"I could charge you with failing to respond to a crime," the judge countered.

After three months as a free man, El Boca, the convicted pedophile, was back in jail.

When asked by EL PAÍS, his lawyer Juan José Camacho said that his client was innocent, adding that the testimonies given by witnesses and the victim are inconsistent. "I think that he is in prison because of his past record, and because he is a danger to society, but not because of evidence that was presented here today, which amounted to nothing," Camacho said.

Carretero ordered DNA testing on the woman's clothes, including the vomit stains, to see if they contain traces of semen. If they belong to José Franco de la Cruz, El Boca will find himself spending another 12 years behind bars.

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