The Spanish national prosecutor has filed a complaint against the suspended president of Spain’s soccer federation, Luis Rubiales, “for the crimes of sexual assault and coercion against Jennifer Hermoso,” according to a press release.
On Tuesday, La Roja star Hermoso filed an official complaint with prosecutors against Rubiales over an unwanted kiss after the Women’s World Cup final, leading to this new development.
The complaint from the prosecutor’s office – part of the Spanish legal process – paves the way for Spain’s national court to launch a formal investigation into Rubiales, who has refused to quit as president of the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF), and begin gathering evidence, which could lead to possible charges.
“The complaint is filed after, on September 5, the player appeared before the prosecutor, accompanied by her lawyer, and expressly made a complaint of the events that, according to her statement, occurred without her consent,” the press release by the prosecutor’s office added.
According to the press release from the prosecutor’s office, Hermoso “also referred in her statement that both she and people close to her suffered constant and repeated pressure from Luis Rubiales and his professional environment.
“The prosecutor considers that this harassment could constitute a crime of coercion.”
The statement added that it would request information from Australian authorities “on the classification of crimes against sexual freedom in its criminal regulations.”
CNN has contacted RFEF to find out if Luis Rubiales has any legal defense, but the federation has indicated that it lacks any details in this regard as the soccer boss – who has been suspended from all football-related activities for 90 days by world governing body FIFA – cannot use RFEF legal resources.
The unwanted kiss has prompted a major shake-up in Spanish soccer, with the government pushing for Rubiales to resign and RFEF removing World Cup-winning manager Jorge Vilda from his role. He was replaced by Montse Tomé, the first woman in Spanish national team history to hold the position.
Rubiales has apologized and described the kiss on August 20 as “mutual” – a claim Hermoso denied, saying she was not respected.
More than 80 Spanish soccer players then put their name on a statement supporting Hermoso, saying they would not return to the national team “if the current leaders continue” in their posts.
Public outcry to the unwanted kiss has come from every sphere of Spanish society, including from politicians and sports stars.
Spain basketball great Pau Gasol, a two-time NBA champion with the Los Angeles Lakers, told a press conference at the FIBA World Cup on Friday that it was “very disappointing” to see Rubiales’ behavior and said it should not be “tolerated or accepted.”
“Me being a Spanish citizen and seeing my country win for the first time ever the World Cup in women’s soccer, it was a little bit disappointing, well, very disappointing actually, to see that happen, to see that moment happen and that type of behavior,” Gasol said.
“To take away from a moment of joy and happiness, and those amazing women did an amazing job winning the World Cup, it was difficult. It was very challenging for me and for our country in a way to experience that, and now we’re still dealing with it.
“As a president of a federation, you should know better, but it happened so now you’ve gotta deal with it and make sure it doesn’t happen again.”