New São Paulo Sexual Harassment Law Causes First Arrest, In a Commuter Train

"He thought I was like a thing, that he could come close and grab the way he wanted," the victim said

Marina Estarque
São Paulo

Two days after the enactment of a law that made sexual harassment a crime, a man was arrested on Wednesday (26th), accused of fondling a female passenger's leg in a CPTM commuter train. This is the first occurrence in the CPTM train system to be put into the new law.

The rule imparts one to two years in prison to someone who "practices against someone and without this person's act libidinous act with the purpose of satisfying his or her own or someone else's lust."
Before this new law, this sort of action was considered a transgression, whose penalty was a simple fine.

Wednesday's case happened close to Sagrado Coração station, in Jandira, Greater São Paulo. The suspect, Maurício Ribeiro, 56, already had two occurrences, in 2016 and 2017, for offensive behavior in a CPTM train, in the same station.

A female passenger waits for a train in the CPTM commuter railroad system, in São Paulo - Folhapress

"He started to rub his leg against me, I moved away, but he came close again. I kicked his leg, but he didn't care, he wouldn't stop. When he grabbed my thigh, I screamed, I got upset and started to cry," said the victim, saleswoman Edilane Soares, 25.

It was the first time something like that happened to her in public transportation. "To tell you the truth, I felt like trash. He thought I was like a thing, that he could come close and grab the way he wanted," she said.

Translated by NATASHA MADOV

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