AN ASPERGER’S syndrome group has accused judges of “social ignorance” after they cut jail time for a man found guilty of sexually assaulting a woman with the condition.
The Asperger’s Almeria body said it was concerned and uneasy about the appeal ruling from Andalucia’s Superior Court of Justice.
The court, sitting in Granada, found the defendant did not know of the 21-year-old’s condition. Judges overturned a previous ruling from Almeria’s Provincial Court which found the man took advantage of her mental state.
Amparo Garcia Escarabajal, the head of the group, said the judges should have taken into account the symptoms of Asperger’s. He also called for awareness training for justices.
“People with Asperger’s do not perceive bad intentions and they struggle to intuit danger from others,” Escarabajal said.
The group’s head said the body respected the court’s professionalism but added the ruling contributed to the stigma faced by those with Asperger’s.
“Asperger people are seen as intellectually deficient and as having delays in thought or being sick people.”
“None of these concepts fit those used by doctors to classify people with the condition,” he said.
The Almeria court heard the defendant met the woman in a Garrucha gym in 2016 when she was 21.
Prosecutors said they were alone the spinning room when the man grabbed her and touched her buttocks and crotch before she told him to stop.
The Andalucia court ruled it was impossible to determine if the man knew the woman was mentally disabled.
Judges cut the defendant’s jail term to seven years but upheld a €15,000 compensation payout and a restraining order.