Turkish man acquitted of rape charges after court says minor girl ‘looks 18’

A 22-year-old Turkish man has been acquitted of rape charges after a court said the 12-year-old girl he allegedly sexually abused in 2014 “looked like an 18-year-old,” daily Habertürk has reported.

According to a report by Hurriyet Daily News on Tuesday, the 12-year-old girl had met up with her 22-year-old boyfriend in June 2014. The girl and the man allegedly had sexual intercourse at the man’s house. But a day after, the girl’s father saw her outside the boyfriend’s house and battered her. The girl told her father she was kidnapped and raped by the man. The suspect was arrested and sentenced to 27 years in jail over “sexually abusing a child” and 15 years in jail over “depriving one’s liberty.”

During the first hearing in 2015, the man rejected the accusations, saying that the girl introduced herself as an 18-year-old. The girl also later withdrew her complaint in the second hearing of the trial. Later, the court board evaluated some hospital and forensic reports. According to the hospital report on her mental and physical age, the girl was determined to be 16, despite her actually being 12. But the forensic report confirmed her mental and physical age was actually 12.

After six months in prison, a court ordered to acquit the suspect of the charges on grounds that she looked 18 and because her height was above 1,70 meters. “It is possible to be mistaken when considering the age she started to work and the time when the suspect met her. Even if it is assumed that the victim was not 18, she looks older than 15. She said that she was 18,” the court said. It later dropped the charges.

The Family Ministry, however, objected to the court’s decision, and an appeals court reheard the trial.The girl and the suspect appeared in the hearing with their baby. The girl said they would get married after she turns 18. The appeals court approved the previous decision and dropped the charges too.

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