MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – A judge in Mexico’s Jalisco state who rejected prosecutors’ calls for harsher charges against a police official accused of sexually abusing a 10-year-old girl has been suspended after widespread outrage over the case.
According to Sandra Quiñones, the lawyer for the victim’s family, the judge argued against pursuing a “corruption of a minor” charge, saying it constituted a crime only if it caused pleasure.
“It puts the burden on the victims to be able to try the aggressors,” Quiñones said.
A conviction for corruption of a minor carries a maximum sentence of eight years, while sexual abuse merits six years at most, she added.
The judge will “pay the consequences of his immorality,” Jalisco Governor Enrique Alfaro said on Twitter.
The judge, Jorge Solis, has been suspended without pay and is under investigation, Ricardo Suro, the president of Jalisco’s top court, tweeted. Reuters could not immediately reach Solis or a lawyer for him for comment late on Sunday evening.
Feminist groups called for the ouster of the judge in protests on Sunday in Puerta Vallarta, the beachside tourist city where the incident took place, waving signs that read “girls should not be touched” and “it’s not pleasure, it’s violence.”
Prosecutors have said they will appeal the decision. They allege police found the defendant, whom they have publicly identified by his first names, Luis Alonso, standing outside his car with the girl inside.
The defendant, who was head of human resources for the local police until his arrest, remains in jail on sexual abuse charges.
Anger over numerous cases of violence against women has been building and on Sunday, dozens of women took to the main thoroughfare of Mexico’s capital to demand government action in punishing aggressors.