El Salvador questions child molestation ruling

SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador (AP) — Church and civic groups in El Salvador are expressing outrage after a court reduced a sexual abuse charge against a judge to a misdemeanor.

At issue is the case of a judge who allegedly touched a 10-year-old girl’s genitals through her clothes on a street in San Salvador in February.

Prosecutors charged him with sexual abuse, which could carry a prison sentence of 8 to 12 years.

However, justices of the First Criminal Tribunal ruled that brief touching of a clothed person in a public space constituted a violation of public decency statutes, punishable by a fine.

Legislators said Thursday they are preparing to change the law to specify such touching of a child would be subject to prison terms similar to sex abuse.

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