A man who raped a 13-year-old girl has been acquitted on the grounds that her body was “well-developed” for her age. The Swedish teenager had lodged an appeal against the ruling on her perpetrator, 27, but it was thrown out of court this week as officials decided her figure exempted him from blame as he “could not have known” how old she was.
The ruling has called Sweden’s sexual assault laws into question: legislation that states a defendant must “know” or have “reasonable grounds to believe” that the child is under 15, the country’s age of consent. The statute also classifies having sex with someone below that age as “child rape.”
The girl’s lawyer, Goran Landerdahl, told the country’s national news agency that they were planning to bring the case to Sweden’s Supreme Court in the hopes of setting a benchmark for how issues of this nature are treated in the future.
“Judges read newspapers too,” Landerdahl told TT News, “so perhaps someone will realize that there are irregularities in this case.” He also criticized adults who have sex with those who look “borderline 15-years-old” without attempting to verify their age, saying that they must be held responsible for their decisions.