A Colombian national, who rented a room in his Barcelona apartment to two American tourists through the AirBnB website, has now been convicted of raping the women. This week, a Spanish court sentenced him to almost 12 years behind bars for his crime.
The two unnamed women, aged 24 and 26, rented the room in Barcelona back in October 2011 from the owner, 34-year-old Pablo César Córdoba Riascos. According to Skynews, the room was advertised on the popular website AirBnB, which offers private apartments and rooms for rent all over the world.
According to a statement made in court when the verdict was announced, Córdoba Riascos had accompanied the two women around town, where they apparently drank a huge amount of alcohol. He then directed the two women back to his apartment, where he took advantage of the fact that they were drunk and raped them.
The statement continued that the two women were so inebriated that they were unable to physically repel the attentions of the accused, and that Córdoba Riascos was aware the women did not consent to his sexual advances. It was noted in the court that the defendant had taken video footage and photos of his attack on the two women.
On awakening the next morning, the two women realized what had happened to them and immediately filed charges with the local police. When they returned home to the U.S., they reported the attack to AirBnB, who then removed the renter from their website.
Córdoba Riascos responded to the removal of his listing on AirBnB by writing to the two women, threatening to make the videos and photos public if the victims didn’t withdraw their accusation. The women refused to comply with his threats.
Capital FM reports that after Friday’s conviction, the accused is facing a sentence of 11 years, nine months, and one day in prison. The charges included double rape, violation of the women’s privacy, and proffering threats against the women.
It seems the two American women were not alone. When police searched the accused man’s property back in March 2012, they uncovered hundreds of photos and similar video footage taken of other young women who had rented the room.
There has been other, equally controversial news relating to AirBnB in Barcelona. Back in August of this year, The Local, an English language news site based in Spain, reported residents in the popular seaside neighborhood of Barceloneta were up in arms with AirBnB. The owners said properties were being rented far too cheaply on the property-sharing website, and this was bringing the “wrong type” of tourists into the area.
This unruly behavior included two young Italian men who walked into a local store completely naked, as well as loud, drunken behavior in general in the area.
There are strict rules and regulations on renting properties to tourists in Spain. Because of this, 33 apartment owners who advertised on the popular website were hit with fines of up to $40,000 for illegally renting their properties to tourists on AirBnB.
While controversy continues in Barcelona, Spain, the Inquisitr recently reported that AirBnB stays are set to be legalized in San Jose, as that city’s property owners are to be taxed on the proceeds of their rentals.
[Photo: Barceloneta streets CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 by Ignacio Bareño]