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Luis Rubiales faces sexual assault trial for unsolicited kiss at World Cup

The former president of Spain's soccer federation Luis Rubiales (center) will stand trial for sexual assault charges after forcibly kissing soccer star Jenni Hermoso, a Spanish judge confirmed.
Bernat Armangue
/
AP
The former president of Spain's soccer federation Luis Rubiales (center) will stand trial for sexual assault charges after forcibly kissing soccer star Jenni Hermoso, a Spanish judge confirmed.

Luis Rubiales, the former president of Spain's soccer federation, is due to stand trial on charges of sexual assault and coercion for kissing soccer star Jenni Hermoso without consent after the Women's World Cup final in Sydney last year.

A Spanish judge has sent the case to trial and confirmed the charges, reported Spanish news agency EFE.

National Court Judge Francisco de Jorge ordered three others to stand trial on charges of coercion for allegedly pressuring Hermoso to absolve Rubiales: former women's national team coach Jorge Vilda; former men's team director Albert Luque; and the federation's former head of marketing, Rubén Rivera.

The judge ruledin January that Rubiales' kiss last August "was not consensual and was a unilateral and surprising initiative."

In a live-broadcast moment of celebration during the gold medal ceremony following Spain's victory, Rubiales grabbed Hermoso and forcibly kissed her on her lips. His behavior drew swift international backlash, which included a three-year ban of Rubialesfrom the sport.

De Jorge said Hermoso was caught off guard by the kiss and grew increasingly uncomfortable with Rubiales' actions. Her discomfort was exacerbated by repeated pressure from Luque and Rivera to say the kiss had been consensual, the judge said.

Hermoso filed a legal complaint against Rubiales in September. Two days later, prosecutors accused him of sexual assault and coercion.

Prosecutors are seeking a prison sentence of 2 1/2 years for Rubiales for the unsolicited kiss and for allegedly trying to coerce Hermoso to publicly forgive him, and 1 1/2 years for the other three defendants, EFE reported.

A trial date has not yet been set.

Rubiales was briefly detained last month, as part of a separate probe into alleged corruption tied to Spanish Super Cup in Saudi Arabia while he was head of the federation.

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