Thursday 19 May 2022

Man sentenced to four months in prison for masturbating in front of woman

This is the first sentence for street sexual harassment in Costa Rica since the approval of the law that classifies these acts as a crime

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19 May 2022 - At The Banks - BCCR

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QCOSTARICA – A man surnamed Ríos was sentenced to four months in prison for masturbating in front of a woman, the Ministry of Public Security (MSP) reported on Monday.

The incident occurred on September 12 in Zapote, San José. That day, the victim called police, and the man was immediately arrested.

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The MSP said that this is the first sentence for street sexual harassment (acoso sexual callejero in Spanish) in Costa Rica since the approval of the law that classifies these acts as crimes in the Penal Code.

The Deputy Minister of Public Security, Eduardo Solano, stressed that this penalty is historic and fulfills the objective of Congress in approving this legislation.

The Deputy Minister pointed out that the apprehension of Ríos was thanks to the training on the subject that the Fuerza Publica (national police) officers have received.

The recenlty approved legislation places the emphasis on police to respond immediately to such calls and the accused to be presented to the Flagrancy courts for an abbreviated process.

Solano also stressed that the speed of the process was achieved because the accused man accepted the charges.

Currently, these are the punishments to which those who engage in conduct of sexual harassment on public roads and means of transport are exposed:

  • From ten months to a year and a half in prison: those who photograph or record with sexual connotations, and without their consent, people in places of public access and in paid transportation services for people. The penalty could go up to two years in prison if the material is shown or transmitted to another person.
  • From six months to a year in prison: whoever masturbates or exhibits their genitals with sexual intent in public.
  • From eight months to a year in prison: whoever pursues or corners a person for sexual purposes.
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The above penalties would be increased by one third for repeat offenders, if the offenses are committed by more than one person, or if the victim is a minor, an senior or has a disability.

  • From 15 to 30 days fine: whoever, in a public space, public access or in a means of paid transportation of people, utters, directs or executes, with sexual connotation, words, noises, whistles, gasps, moans, gestures or gestures towards another person, without their consent.
  • From 25 to 35 days fine: if these behaviors are committed by two or more people, or through the use of electronic means.
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