Dani Alves found guilty of sexual assault, faces four-and-a-half years in jail

Dani Alves found guilty of sexual assault

Former Barcelona and Brazil footballer Dani Alves has been sentenced to four years and six months for the rape of a 23-year-old woman in a Barcelona nightclub in December 2022.

According to a statement from the Audiencia Nacional in Barcelona, the victim did not consent to sex with Alves. Evidence presented to the court, along with the victim’s statement, proved that she had been raped. Alves denied wrongdoing, and his lawyer, Inés Guardiola, stated they would appeal.

Initially, the prosecution sought a nine-year sentence, while the victim’s legal team requested 12 years. Alves’s sentence is slightly more than the minimum of four years. Due to his time served on remand, he could soon be released on license.

As part of the ruling, the 40-year-old was ordered to pay €9,000 (£7,700) for physical damage to the victim. Additionally, he offered to pay compensation of €150,000, which the court considered as an attenuating circumstance when passing sentence. He will also be under legal supervision for an additional five years, with a restraining order banning contact with the victim for nine years and six months.

The verdict signifies a departure from the previous trend of victim-blaming. Legislation from 2022 emphasizes that proof of sexual aggression does not depend on physical injuries or the victim’s resistance.

Spain’s vice-president, Yolanda Díaz, expressed hope that the sentence would serve as an example. “This marks the end of machismo and sexual aggression against women,” she stated.

Tània Verge, the Catalan equality minister, hailed the Alves case as a milestone. She emphasized the importance of nightclubs’ protocols against sexual violence and training their personnel for immediate responses. The case demonstrates that trials can proceed while fully protecting victims and prioritizing sexual consent. It also underscores that regardless of the perpetrator’s status or attempts to discredit victims, impunity is no longer tolerated.

Alves encountered the woman at the VIP section of Sutton nightclub in Barcelona on December 30, 2022. After purchasing drinks for her and her friends, he invited her to accompany him to a bathroom, the only area in the club devoid of surveillance cameras.

Once inside, the victim recounted that he insisted on receiving oral sex, and when she refused, he sexually assaulted her. Initially, Alves denied any interaction with the woman, but he altered his statements multiple times upon being confronted with forensic and video evidence.

Alves boasts an illustrious career, having secured numerous titles with esteemed clubs such as Sevilla, Barcelona, Juventus, and Paris Saint-Germain, amassing 126 appearances for Brazil, which includes participation in three World Cups. He significantly contributed to Brazil’s victories in two Copa Américas and clinched an Olympic gold medal.

The defender served Barcelona from 2008 to 2016, briefly returning to the club in 2022, and still maintains a residence near the city. At the time of his arrest, Alves was associated with the Mexican club Pumas, but his contract was promptly termina