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Mexico: Lawmaker Proposes Criminalizing Sexual Harassment at Federal Level

(Aug. 28, 2017) In order to criminalize sexual harassment at the federal level as a form of violence suffered by women and girls, the President of the Gender Equality Commission of Mexico’s Chamber of Deputies, Laura Nereida Plascencia Pacheco (a member of the Institutional Revolutionary Party, PRI) is promoting the reform of articles 259 bis and 266 bis of the Federal Criminal Code and the addition to it of a new article 266 ter.  (Pide Diputada Tipificar Acoso Sexual a Nivel Federal [Request for Deputy to Classify Sexual Harassment [as a Crime] at the Federal Level], EL UNIVERSAL (Aug. 14, 2017).)

Sexual harassment reportedly occurs mainly in the workplace, in private companies or public institutions, which rarely have protocols to address this situation, and in most cases the victim does not file a complaint for fear of retaliation. (Id.)   For this reason, Plascencia Pacheco proposes that the new article 266 ter specify that anyone who exerts sexual pressure on (atosigue) or annoys (incordie) another person or who carries out similar forms of conduct without the consent of the recipient of the conduct commits the offense of sexual harassment.  The aggressor would be liable to a penalty of three months to five years’ imprisonment and a penalty of 50 to 200 fine days, with the amount based on the offender’s daily income.  (Id.)

In the event that the aggression is carried out by two or more persons, the sanctions would increase by one-half. (Id.)  When committed against a person of legal age, the offense would be prosecuted at the request of the offended party; in the case of minors, persons with a disability, or those who lack the power to understand the meaning of the act, the offense would be prosecuted by the appropriate authority sua sponte and the sanctions doubled.  (Id.)  If the harasser is a public servant, in addition to the sanctions indicated above, he/she would be removed from office and disqualified from holding any position in the public sector for up to five years.  (Id.)

The legislator proposes amending article 259 bis to increase the penalties for sexual bullying from a 40-day fine to one to three years of imprisonment and a fine of up to 300fine days.  If the bully is a public servant and uses means or circumstances that his/her position provides in order to carry out the bullying, he/she would be removed from office and disqualified from holding any office in the public sector for up to five years.  (Id.)