Two members of the so-called “La Manada” gang, five men who were convicted for sexually abusing an 18-year-old at the 2016 Running of the Bulls fiestas in Pamplona, were forced to leave a municipal swimming pool this weekend after they were recognized and jeered at by swimmers.
Deputy Mayor Juana Caballero
“Our government is not going to allow people declared personas non grata by this City Hall come to our municipality and use our public spaces to provoke social alarm,” deputy mayor Juana Caballero said in a press release in the wake of the incident.
According to Caballero, two members of the gang entered a municipal swimming pool in Palomares del Río in Seville at around 3pm on Saturday with 10 other people. The men had been invited by a pool employee who wanted celebrate his birthday there. After eating at the bar, the group went to the pool for drinks, where they were recognized and yelled at by members of the public. The pool employee decided to move his birthday celebrations to another part of the sports center to “stop things from getting out of hand,” he reportedly told Caballero at a meeting held this morning.
After showering at the center, the group waited for the pool to close before leaving.
Caballero said the situation had caused “social alarm” and, while recognizing that the sex offenders cannot be banned from public spaces, added that she hoped such an incident “would not occur again.”
The deputy mayor said on Monday that an investigation into the pool employee has been opened, with the aim of stripping him of all responsibilities over his misuse of public facilities for “the benefit of rapists.”
The pool employee decided to move his birthday celebrations to “stop things from getting out of hand”
“We are not going to allow Palomares del Río to become a refuge for rapists and criminals, and we are not going to tolerate our citizens feeling alarmed by these kinds of unwanted visitors,” added Caballero.
The five men in the La Manada gang were released from custody on June 22 while the Supreme Court reviews their appeals. They were convicted to nine years in prison for sexual abuse, but cleared of rape after the judges found that there had been no violence or intimidation against the victim.
Shortly after meeting the girl on the streets of Pamplona during the world-famous Sanfermines fiestas, the members of La Manada ushered her into the hallway of a residential building, where all five of them proceeded to penetrate her, filming the encounter on their cellphones. They then stole her cellphone and left the scene.
The case triggered widespread protests in Spain and calls to overhaul the criminal code’s definition of sexual violence.
English version by Melissa Kitson.