Spanish World Cup-winning star Jenni Hermoso told a judge on Tuesday that the kiss forced on her by disgraced former Spanish football chief Luis Rubiales was “at no point consensual” and that she had come under pressure to defend his actions. Arriving at the Audiencia Nacional in Madrid just before 10:00 am (0900 GMT), the 33-year-old went to testify before Judge Francisco de Jorge, who is investigating Rubiales on allegations of sexual assault and coercion. “Now everything is in the hands of the justice system and that’s all I can say,” she told reporters on leaving court several hours later.
A judicial source told AFP that she had “ratified the statement made at the public prosecutor’s office that the kiss was completely unexpected and at no point was it consensual”.
During the incident on August 20, the then head of Spain’s RFEF football federation held her head in both hands and forcibly kissed her on the lips after Spain won the World Cup in Australia.
He has said the act was “a consensual peck” but Hermoso has insisted it was not.
She filed a lawsuit against him in September and told the judge she had come under pressure to defend Rubiales, both on the flight back from Australia and on a subsequent team holiday to Ibiza in the Balearic Islands.
“After the event, the situation experienced by the victim, both on the flight back to Spain and during her stay in Ibiza was one of constant harassment by the parties under investigation, which disrupted her normal life, causing her anxiety and distress,” the source said, quoting Hermoso’s testimony.
Under Spanish law, a non-consensual kiss can be considered sexual assault — a criminal category that groups all types of sexual violence.
Penalties for such a kiss range from a fine to four years in prison.
The 46-year-old Rubiales, who is subject to a restraining order banning him from being within 200 metres (yards) of Hermoso, is also accused of “coercion” for allegedly pressuring her to justify his actions, which were broadcast live round the world.
The kiss provoked widespread outrage and prompted his suspension by world football governing body FIFA.
Rubiales appeared in court on September 15.
In October, the judge quizzed three others over allegations they also pressured Hermoso — former women’s coach Jorge Vilda, men’s team director Albert Luque and RFEF marketing boss Ruben Rivera.
Numerous other witnesses have testified in court over the pressure faced by Hermoso, among them two-time Ballon d’Or winner Alexia Putellas and two other Spanish teammates.
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