Swedish Man Cleared of Rape Charges Because Victim Was Transgender
A Swedish man was cleared of rape charges after a court ruled that the crime could not occur because the victim was male, the Swedish website the Local reported.
It was reported that the perpetrator, a 61-year-old man, was not aware that the person he was intending to rape was really a transgender person.
"The intended crime never had the possibility of being fulfilled," Judge Dan Sjöstedt of the Örebro District Court told the media.
The Swedish newspaper Nerikes Allehanda reported that the man followed the woman and was "brutally violent" in the "attempted rape" and ripped off the victim’s clothes and grabbed her crotch.
The woman was attacked in front of her ex-boyfriend’s home but the incident was stopped after the ex intervened. The authorities then arrived at the scene and arrested the man.
But the court said that the attacker, who reportedly referred to the victim as "she" during the trial, intended to rape a woman and not a man. Since the victim is technically a male, the court ruled the 61-year-old man’s intensions were impossible to commit because the rape could never occur.
"We believe that he wanted to rape this woman in particular. But as she turned out to be a man, the crime never was actually committed," said Sjöstedt. The judge also said that the rape was "invalid."
"There are different theories about how this should be handled, and so we’re looking forward to seeing the verdict from the Court of Appeals," he said.
The attacker did not get completely off the hook, however, as he is being convicted of assault and faces up to four years in prison and $2,161 in damages to the woman.
The outcome of the case may seem odd to some, since Sweden is one of the most progressive countries when it comes to LGBT rights. It was the first country in the world to remove homosexuality as a mental illness. In 2009, Sweden’s officials voted to legalize gay marriage. Gays and lesbians are also allowed to openly serve in the military and same-sex couples are also allowed to adopt children.
But this isn’t the first time Swedish officials have made some strange decisions regarding transgender citizens. In February, members of the country’s government announced that they would not amend a 40-year-old law that forces transgender persons to undergo sterilization if they want to legally change their gender. But some lawmakers said they will try to appeal the policy.