TV model found guilty of false rape claims in disputed case
DPA/The Local · 22 Aug 2016, 17:15
Published: 22 Aug 2016 17:15 GMT+02:00
Updated: 22 Aug 2016 17:15 GMT+02:00
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A Berlin court on Monday ruled against Lohfink’s appeal, sentencing her to pay a reduced fine of at least €20,000 for false accusations.
Lohfink’s case has drummed up intense controversy across the country after she was initially sentenced at the end of last year to pay a €24,000 fine for bringing false accusations against the men, with critics of the decision saying it revealed deeper problems with Germany’s rape laws.
The court said on Monday that it considered it to be established that Lohfink had deliberately and falsely accused the men of rape.
“Ms. Lohfink is not the victim of a sexual crime,” said prosecutor Corinna Gögge. “She lied and misled investigators.”
The case centres on an incident in the summer of 2012 when two men uploaded a video of themselves having sex with Lohfink after a night out. In the video, she can be heard saying “stop it” and “no”.
Lohfink said she had no memory from the night, reporting that she may have been drugged, and filed charges against the men for rape and distributing the video without her consent.
But though Lohfink said “stop” and “no”, the court on Monday decided that the sex in the video appeared to be consensual and that in fact she had been saying “no” to the men filming the encounter.
During the first process, a drug expert had watched the video and testified that Lohfink did not appear to be under the influence of a date-rape drug as she seemed awake and alert.
“The ruling is a scandal,” said Lohfink’s defence attorney Burkhard Benecken, according to Spiegel.
He added that he would have to talk to his client about whether she would feel up to appealing the case to a higher court.
‘No means no’ campaign
After the first ruling, the case sparked a greater debate about the country’s rape laws, which at the time were worded so that judges often required victims to show physical resistance to consider a case as rape.
Lohfink garnered support on social media under a German hashtag #neinheisstnein, meaning “no means no”, and prominent politicians like Federal Family Affairs Minister Manuela Schwesig have also spoken out against the ruling.
“We need to tighten the laws on sexual offences so that Germany can finally have unconditional protection for sexual self-determination,” Schwesig told Spiegel Online in June. “‘No means no’ must hold. ‘Stop it’ is clear enough.”
Last month, the German parliament approved tougher “no means no” measures to cover victims who for various reasons may not have physically fought back.
Before the recent changes, critics had also blamed Germany's policies for the low rate of rape convictions: around 10 percent of reported rapes result in a conviction, which is below the European norm, according to women's rights organization Terre des Femmes.