BUCHAREST, Romania (AP) — Seven men were convicted on Monday of gang raping a teenager in northeastern Romania and sentenced to prison in a case that has caused national outrage.
The men, aged 18 to 27, were sentenced to between five years and eight months and eight years and four months. The man who led the gang rape received the longest sentence, while three who admitted raping the girl were given the lowest sentences.
They were ordered to pay a total of 50,000 lei ($12,500) in damages to the high school student. The judge ordered that the men be arrested and six were immediately taken into custody. It wasn't immediately clear when the seventh suspect would be arrested. The ruling can be appealed.
The 18-year-old woman was repeatedly raped, beaten and sexually abused in November after she accepted a lift home.
The case has divided the small community of Valeni in northeast Romania where the victim and rapists live. Some have voiced their support for the woman, while many have blamed her and media scrutiny for the case, which gained national attention after a court ruled in June that the suspects could remain free pending trial.
Around 400,000 people signed a petition calling for them to be held in custody, but the men had remained free.