Spain leader apologizes to victims of sex consent law

MADRID (AP) — Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez on Sunday apologized to the victims of a government-sponsored sexual freedom law passed last October that aimed to increase protections for women but hundreds of convicted sex offenders inadvertently allowed their sentences to be reduced.

The law, known as the “Only Yes Means Yes” law, is due to be reformed next week to fill the legal loophole after months of debates in the country and tensions between the two left-wing coalition partners in government, the majority Socialist Party and Unidas Podemos , the junior party that sponsored the law.

“No legislature, even those who voted against this law, are in favor of a reduced sentence. So I apologize to the victims and we will find a solution to these unintended effects because it is the best way to defend the law yourself,” Sanchez said in an interview with local media on the sidelines of a campaign event for the upcoming regional league elections in Spain on 28.

According to the latest official data, courts have reduced sentences under the Sex Freedom Act for 978 sex offenders and released at least 104 convicts early.

The law made verbal consent, or lack thereof, a key factor in cases of alleged sexual assault. However, the minimum and maximum penalties for sexual assault convictions were also revised, resulting in judges being able to reduce sentences for rapists and abusers on appeal by removing months or even years from their convictions.

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