Brazil: Critics slam court's underage sex verdict

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BRASILIA, Brazil (AP) -- Human rights advocates in Brazil have slammed a recent appeals court ruling that found that having sex with a minor does not necessarily constitute statutory rape.

The Superior Court of Justice ruled earlier this week that a man accused of having had sex with three 12-year-olds couldn't be convicted on rape charges due to extenuating circumstances, including the fact the girls had worked as prostitutes.

The decision sparked indignant reactions from child protection advocates. Maria do Rosario Nunes is Brazil's human rights minister and said the verdict "would in practice spell impunity" and pledged to try to get it overturned.

The court's president, Ari Pargendler, said the court was open to revising the decision.