Impeachment call for Argentine 'moron' judges' child abuse ruling

A witness told a court in Sheffield, northern England, that she and other girls were held under lock and key by Karen MacGregor, who is accused of befriending the girls before making them available for sex with older men (AFP Photo/Gil Cohen Magen)

Buenos Aires (AFP) - Two Argentine judges faced mounting calls for their impeachment Tuesday after reducing a child abuser's sentence on grounds that the victim was a homosexual who had previously been abused by his father.

"We're in the hands of morons," said President Cristina Kirchner's cabinet chief Anibal Fernandez of the ruling, which triggered outrage when it was disclosed Monday.

The judges who signed it, Horacio Piombo and Benjamin Sal Llargues, should be "hauled before an impeachment hearing," Fernandez said, calling it "one of the biggest disgraces we've ever seen in this country."

The president of the Argentine Federation of Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals and Trans, Esteban Paulon, called the ruling "incomprehensible."

"It re-victimizes the victim. Next thing you know they'll be saying the boy enjoyed it," he said.

The judges reduced convicted child abuser Mario Tolosa's sentence from six years to three years and two months, ruling that because the six-year-old victim had previously been sexually abused by his father, he could not be a victim of aggravated sexual abuse a second time.

They added that "it is clear that the minor's choice of sexual orientation... would already have been made," as shown by his "transvestism," which they said had to be taken into account in judging the severity of Tolosa's crime.

Tolosa, the vice president of a neighborhood soccer club in Buenos Aires, was convicted of abusing the boy in the club's bathrooms in 2011.

Numerous lawmakers, judges and activists have condemned the decision to reduce his sentence, and a petition calling for the judges' impeachment is circulating on social media networks.

"It is a reprehensible ruling from both a human and a legal point of view," said the head of the government's anti-discrimination institute, Pedro Mouratian.

Under Argentine law, "simple abuse" with no penetration is punishable by three to 20 years in prison.

Harsher sentences can be imposed for aggravated abuse ("ultraje"), of which Tolosa was originally convicted.