A court in Spain has absolved more than 30 men accused of
involvement in a child prostitution ring in the southern Spanish city of
Seville. However, 16 men were found guilty of child prostitution, and
sentenced to prison terms ranging from one year to 33. From the
Spanish capital, Joanne Episcopo reports on one of Spain's
biggest ever child prostitute trials:
The case, known as the Caso Arny, after the club in Seville where the under-age
sex was said to have taken place, has lasted for more than two years.
attracted nationwide attention, not only for the large number of people
involved, but because some of the defendants were well-known television
celebrities. These included a popular comedian, as well as several leading
figures in the establishment, including a former juvenile court judge.
times, the trial reached pantomime proportions: some defendants arrived at
court in fancy dress, others wore elaborate disguises, and many complained the
trial was a miscarriage of justice.
Following statements given by young boys
who were used for under-age sex, the owner and manager of the club have now
been given lengthy prison sentences.
However, out of the 49 original defendants, 33 have been totally absolved. This was due to contradictory statements and confusing evidence given by some of the young
boys. It was discovered in court, for example, that the former juvenile judge
had never even been to the club.
It's still difficult to know to what extent
this case was a set-up or a cover-up. But as one of those absolved today said,
the damage has already been done.