Argentine footballers under house arrest in rape case

By AFP   March 21, 2024 | 05:56 pm PT
Three professional Argentine footballers accused in the alleged rape of a sports journalist in a hotel room this month were placed under house arrest Thursday.

A judge ordered 90 days of house arrest for the three players of premier division club Velez Sarsfield being investigated in the case. A fourth player was released on bail.

All four have been suspended from their team, which sits third in Argentina's top league and features Atletico Madrid coach Diego Simeone among its former players.

The case arose after a 24-year-old sports journalist alleged she was raped after being invited by Uruguay international Sebastian Sosa to a hotel room in Tucuman, Argentina, on March 3, where she said the other three defendants were also waiting.

She said she felt dizzy after having a few drinks, laid down on a bed, and was raped.

Prosecutor Eugenia Posse is looking to bring rape charges against players Braian Cufre and Jose Florentin, while Abiel Osorio is accused of sexual abuse. All three were held on house arrest.

Sosa, who was granted $57,000 bail and banned from leaving the country for 90 days, is being charged as a secondary participant.

The prosecution had asked for all four men to be placed in pre-trial detention to prevent interference in the investigation.

The players, who all testified in the hearing, risk prison sentences ranging from four to 20 years.

Football club Velez Sarsfield, based in Buenos Aires, said Monday it had suspended the four players and ordered an internal investigation.

"The Club reiterates its deepest concern about the reported events, which are clearly contrary to the principles and values of our institution," it said in a statement.

The hearing came in the same week that a Spanish court freed former Brazil international Dani Alves on bail of a million euros pending an appeal against his conviction for raping a woman at a Barcelona nightclub in December 2022.

Meanwhile in Brazil, former Manchester City and Real Madrid player Robinho is seeking to delay the start of his nine-year sentence for taking part in the 2013 gang rape of a woman at a Milan nightclub.

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