Four members of “La Manada” to face trial in separate sexual abuse case

Videos on the convicted sex offenders’ cellphones revealed their groping and assault of an unconscious 21-year-old during a car journey

A poster calling for members of “La Manada” to be jailed.
A poster calling for members of “La Manada” to be jailed.JULIÁN ROJAS

Four of the five members of the so-called “La Manada” gang, a group of men from Seville who were found guilty of sexual abuse committed at the 2016 Sanfermines fiestas in Pamplona, will be going back into the courtroom to face separate charges of sexual abuse and a privacy offense.

Prenda, Guerrero, Cabezuelo and Escudero are accused of interfering with the victim in a moving vehicle while she was asleep

José Ángel Prenda, Antonio Manuel Guerrero, Alfonso Jesús Cabezuelo, Jesús Escudero and Ángel Boza were sentenced to nine years in jail earlier this year over the Running of the Bulls case, in which they stood trial for rape after they corralled a then-18-year-old girl they had just met into a building, and all penetrated her, recording the sex acts on their cellphones. They also stole the young woman’s own phone. The men were found not guilty by a panel of three judges of the more serious offense of rape, but guilty of sexual abuse, as the magistrates found that there was no violence nor intimidation toward the victim, but that consent was obtained through their “situation of superiority” that “encroached on the freedom of the victim.”

In this separate case, Prenda, Guerrero, Cabezuelo and Escudero are accused of sexually abusing a 21-year-old woman in a moving vehicle while she was asleep, also capturing their actions on a cellphone and then sharing the recordings via WhatsApp. The incident took place just two months before the Sanfermines fiestas.

The recording came to light during the investigative phase of the Pamplona case, after the judge in charge of the probe alerted a magistrate in Pozoblanco, in the Andalusian province of Córdoba, of the images, which were discovered on the cellphones of the gang.

The judge in charge of this latest case has so far confirmed in a written statement that the accused and the victim met on May 1 in local fiestas in Torrecampo, also in Córdoba. The young woman  decided to return to Pozoblanco with the four members of La Manada, and got into the vehicle belonging to Guerrero, who is a member of Spain’s Civil Guard. According to the judge’s findings, the girl sat “in the middle of the back seat, between Alfonso Jesús,” who is a member of the military, “and Jesús,” who is a hairdresser.

As soon as she got into the car, the woman “fell into a deep state of unconsciousness, a state that the four suspects took advantage of to touch her breasts.” Cabezuelo then “grabs her by the neck and gives her a number of kisses on her mouth,” while Prenda records everything with Guerrero’s cellphone, “at the same time touching her breasts.” Escudero and Cabezuelo continue to touch the victim’s breasts, until the civil guard does the same, “while driving.”

The judge notes that this “behavior is accompanied by laughs” from members of La Manada.

But the harassment did not stop there, according to the investigating judge. Once in Pozoblanco, Cabezuelo and the victim moved into the front seats, while the other men left the vehicle. Just before arriving at her home, the young woman woke up, “which is when Alfonso orders her to fellate him, and, given her refusal, he slaps her in the face and on the arm, throwing her out of the car, while calling her a ‘whore’.” Cabezuelo is facing a separate assault charge for having struck the victim.

The woman did not remember any of the facts as detailed in the writ, only that she had met a man from Seville the night before. She did, however, take photos of the bruises that she found on her body the next day. It was only two months later, when the Navarre regional police showed her the video, that she found out that she had been assaulted by four people.

Escudero and Cabezuelo continue to touch the victim’s breasts, until the civil guard does the same, “while driving”

As well as facing accusations of sexual abuse, the men may have committed privacy offenses by sharing the video on their cellphones, in messages in which they refer to the victim as “sleeping beauty.” One of the WhatsApp groups where they shared the videos was called “La Manada,” while the other was called “Peligro” (danger).

The four men involved in this case opted not to make statements before a judge during the investigative stage, which began in October 2016. The victim has appeared before a magistrate three times, while three friends of La Manada members also gave statements.

Guerrero, Cabezuelo, Escudero and Prenda have been out on bail since June 22, and are awaiting a Supreme Court review of their appeal against the nine-year sentences they were handed after being found guilty in the Running of the Bulls case. They served two years in preventive jail from the time of their arrest until their appeals were filed. They have been given restraining orders that specify that they must stay at least 500 meters away from the Pozoblanco victim.

The men may have committed privacy offenses by sharing the video via their cellphones

Ángel Boza, the member of La Manada who was not in the vehicle on the day of the separate incident, has been sent back to prison after he was caught trying to steal sunglasses on August 1 from an establishment in the center of Seville.

English version by Simon Hunter.

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