Nov. 1 (UPI) -- Protesters expressed outrage in Spain after five men were acquitted of sexual assault in the gang rape of a 14-year-old girl -- convicted instead of a lesser sexual abuse charge because the girl was unconscious.
The men didn't use violence or intimidation, which is required to bring a charge of sexual assault, the court in Barcelona ruled.
The five men were sentenced to 10 to 12 years in prison Thursday on a lesser sexual abuse charge. Sexual assault charges, which the prosecutor recommended, would have resulted in 15- to 20-year sentences.
Two other men who were at the drinking party were acquitted of all charges.
Protesters gathered in front of the court during the trial demanding that the law be changed.
The attack happened in a vacant factory in Manresa in northeast Catalonia in October 2016. Two Spaniards, two Cubans and an Argentine man took turns having sex with the girl.
The girl was under the influence of alcohol and drugs and remembers little of what happened. She did recall that one of the men had a gun. The men were able to "commit sexual acts without using any type of violence or intimidation."
The main defendant, Bryan Andres, told his friends they could have "15 minutes each" with the girl.
The court ruled that the victim "did not know what she was and wasn't doing, and consequently, did not have the ability to agree to or oppose the sexual relations most of the defendants had with her," the court ruled.
"The sexual attack on the victim was extremely intense and especially denigrating, and in addition, it was produced on a minor who was in a helpless situation," the court said in a statement.
The men denied the allegations, though the DNA of one of them was found on the girl's underwear.
The girl was awarded $13,400 in damages for the attack, which the court called "extremely severe and especially denigrating."
Spain is reviewing the definition of rape and whether to base it on a woman's consent to sex. Other European countries have made the change, including Sweden.
Barcelona Mayor Ada Colau called the verdict "outrageous."
"I am not a judge and I do not know how many years in prison they deserve. What I do know is that it is not abuse, it is rape." Colau said.