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Spanish 'Big Brother' contestant sentenced to jail after sexually abusing housemate

José María López, and his victim, Carlota Prado during the filming of Big Brother
José María López, and his victim, Carlota Prado during the filming of Big Brother Copyright Gran Hermano Revolution
Copyright Gran Hermano Revolution
By Laura Llach
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José María López, has been sentenced to 15 months in prison for sexually assaulting fellow Big Brother contestant Carlota Prado.

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Carlota Prado shook her head in disbelief and her eyes filled with tears while she watched the images of her own assault.

The 30-year-old contestant of Spain’s Big Brother TV reality show was called into a private room to see images in which she was subjected to sexual abuse during the filming of the show in 2017.

Six years later, her ex-partner and former contestant on the show, José María López, has been sentenced to 15 months in prison for sexually assaulting her. He has also been issued with a four-year restraining order from his victim and has been ordered to pay her €6,000 in compensation.

On top of this, the producer of Big Brother Spain, Zeppelin Television, will have to pay Prado €1,000 for the distress caused to her by filming the scene.

The images were never aired and López was expelled from the show immediately after. Prado herself also left the show without being able to speak to him. 

Their relationship started while filming the TV show.

How did the TV attack unfold?

According to the court, the attack took place on 4 November during a live broadcast of a party held in the early hours of that morning.

Prado became intoxicated and passed out in her bed. It was then that José María took off his pants and began to make sexual movements under the duvet.

"Knowing that Carlota Prado was under the effects of an alcoholic stupor that would later lead her to unconsciousness, he (...) began to perform sexual movements under the duvet, although the victim weakly told him 'I can't',” the ruling states.

This happened despite Prado expressing her refusal in different ways, the court heard. 

"Carlota Prado was used by the defendant as a sexual object without the slightest shadow of consent and, consequently, of freedom, on her part in everything that happened," the ruling adds.

López said he didn’t realise Prado was unconscious.

The production company Zeppelin issued a statement after the ruling was made public to show their "respect for the sentence issued in the criminal proceedings" and added that "during the process, they have cooperated with justice in an absolutely transparent way".

Zeppelin also recalls that they were the ones who brought the prosecuted facts to the attention of authorities.

Showing the images to the victim

According to the judge, showing Prado the attack the following morning “caused the victim profound discomfort, surprise and pain. Later she felt anxiety and stress that led to a psychological disorder".

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The Spanish newspaper El Confidencial had access to the footage and published the full transcript of the conversation:

Carlota: Will people see this?

Big Brother: No, under no circumstances.

C: Really?

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BB: No.

C: Where is he?

BB: José María has been expelled, Carlota.

C: So, I can't even have a conversation with him, right?

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BB: No. Carlota, we want you to know that the organisation does not approve of this kind of behaviour.

C: Nor do I, how could I? It feels unfair that I can't even talk to him, because he hasn't told me anything. Well, you know that he hasn't told me, you know perfectly well.

BB: We want you to know that you have all our psychological and family support.

Crying, Carlota asks "psychological?".

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She has an anxiety attack. It is difficult for her to breathe normally.

C: I don’t want to talk to a psychologist, I want to talk to my friends. I need to know that this will not be broadcasted because obviously I’m going to talk about this.

BB: The organisation has made a decision (referring to Lopez’s expulsion), but this will remain with José María and you, it should not leave this room".

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