At least 87 people were reported to the Organismo de Investigación Judicial (OIJ), between January 13 and September 30 of this year, for maintaining ‘inappropriate” relationships with a minor between the age of 15 and 17, regardless of sexual orientation or gender.
In the same period, the Fiscalia (Prosecutor’s Office) received 128 complaints for the same crime.
The law, that went into effect on January 13, 2017, imposes sanctions for improper relations with adolescents over the age of 15 and under 18 with a prison sentence of two to three years when the difference in age is seven years or more.
When the victim is between 13 years of age and under 15, the penalty is three to six years in prison, when the age difference is five years or more years.
Sex with a minor under the age of 13 is considered rape (violación in Spanish). The penalty is from ten to six years in prison.
The number of complaints filed with the Judiciary was released on Friday by the Defensoría de los Habitantes (Ombudsman’s Office) and five days after the head of the Policia de Transito (Traffic Police) of La Fortuna de San Carlos, Pedro Arce, 56, murdered his 19-year-old girlfriend, with whom he had lived with for four years. The relationship began when she was 14 and he was 51, a difference of 37 years.
“The family of this teenager knew of the improper relationship. Also the Internal Affairs of the Traffic Police, the PANI (National Children’s Welfare Agency) and the Criminal Court of San Carlos. Nobody protected her. The entire system failed her,” said the Ombudsman’s Office in a statement.
Besides the emotional, physical and sexual violence, minors are also victims of femicide. The Defensoría de los Habitantes noted that of the 26 femicides reported in 2016, three were minors and another four under the age of 23. In addition, 15 of the 26 victims of femicide were mothers, making 29 children and adolescents orphans.
The Defensoría de los Habitantes noted that in many cases of improper relations they are known in the community, by relatives and even the authorities.