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Brazil football star Dani Alves found guilty of sexual assault

Brazilian soccer star Dani Alves was sentenced to four-and-a-half years in jail for sexual assault.

Brazilian soccer star Dani Alves was sentenced to four-and-a-half years in jail for sexual assault. Photo: Getty

Brazilian soccer star Dani Alves has been found guilty of sexually assaulting a young woman and sentenced to four years and six months in prison.

The ruling by a three-judge panel in a Barcelona court on Thursday followed a three-day trial in February.

Alves, 40, denied any wrongdoing during the trial. The decision can be appealed.

The court found Alves sexually assaulted his victim early in the morning of December 31, 2022, when she said he raped her in a bathroom of an upscale Barcelona nightclub.

State prosecutors had sought a nine-year prison sentence for Alves while the lawyers representing his accuser wanted 12 years.

The ruling considered it proven that the victim did not consent to sex and there was evidence, in addition to the defendant’s testimony, that she had been raped.

The court also imposed 150,000 euros ($247,000) in compensation for the victim and payment of costs by Alves.

Once it concluded his sentence, the court ordered that Alves, aged 40, be monitored for five years and have no communication with or go near the victim.

Alves denied he raped the woman, testifying to the court, “I am not that kind of man”.

The state prosecutor’s office said it would study the verdict and then consider whether or not to appeal.

Alves has been in jail since being detained on January 20, 2023. His requests for bail were denied because the court considered him a flight risk.

The victim told state prosecutors she danced with Alves and willingly entered the nightclub bathroom, but that later when she wanted to leave he would not let her.

She said he slapped her, insulted her and forced her to have sexual relations against her will.

His conviction shatters Alves’ legacy as one of soccer’s most successful players.

Alves won dozens of titles with elite clubs including Barcelona, Juventus and Paris Saint-Germain. He also helped Brazil win two Copa Americas and an Olympic gold medal at age 38.

He played at his third World Cup, the only major title he hasn’t won, in 2022. He played for Barcelona from 2008 to 2016 and briefly rejoined the club in 2022.

He was with Mexican club Pumas when he was arrested.

Pumas terminated his contract immediately.

-AP

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