The former artistic director of the Greek National Theater was arrested on Saturday over allegations of rape of minors, amid a late wake-up call from #MeToo.
Renowned actor and director Dimitris Lignadis faces charges of serial rape and indecent assault, according to an arrest warrant.
Lignadis, 56, resigned on February 6 citing “a toxic climate of rumors, innuendos and leaks”. He is at the center of numerous allegations of child sexual abuse, according to Greek media.
He was arrested a day after Culture Minister Lina Mendoni said she asked the Supreme Court prosecutor to look into rumors circulating about him and publicly called him a “dangerous person. “.
“We put a lot of pressure on Lignadis to say if he was the one whose name was in the rumors … there was a constant denial that the rumors were about him,” Mendoni said. He deceived us, he deceived me, ”she added.
His words angered Lignadis who retaliated: “If I am a dangerous man in my personal life or in my work, I think that it is necessary to wait until it is decided by history and by other institutions.”
Lignadis’ attorney Nikos Georgouleas said on Saturday his client had dismissed all charges and was arrested after reporting to authorities.
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A complaint was filed against Lignadis on Friday over the 2010 rape of a 14-year-old boy, according to the ANA news agency.
The now 25-year-old plaintiff is the second person to accuse the director of rape, according to ERT TV.
The prosecutor received another statement Friday evening, according to the ANA.
This witness alleged that he was at the principal’s home with friends under the age of 18, where the principal subjected them to alcohol and drugs and asked them to have group sex.
The Lignadis affair sparked a war of words between the government and opposition parties who called for Mendoni’s resignation, accusing him of dragging its feet in the affair.
The main leader of the opposition Syriza party, Alexis Tsipras, said on Friday that the government had tried to “cover up”, adding that Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis was “a friend of Lignadis”.
“It is truly obscene that Mr. Tsipras is trying to take advantage of all these shocking revelations, giving them a party-bound tone,” a statement released by the Prime Minister’s Office said Friday evening. Mr. Mitsotakis “only knew Lignadis for his theatrical performances which he attended”, he added.
More than three years after the appearance of the #MeToo movement in the United States, the code of silence in Greece has been broken by a two-time Olympic sailing medalist, Sofia Bekatorou.
Bekatorou in December alleged that she was 21 when she was subjected to “sexual harassment and abuse” by a senior member of the federation in her hotel room, shortly after the trials for the Olympics of Sydney in 2000.
Several other high profile figures, including actors and university professors, have also been embroiled in accusations of intimidation, harassment and abuse in recent weeks.
Giorgos Kimoulis, considered one of Greece’s best actors, has been pulled from this year’s Athens and Epidaurus festival after a wave of bullying claims of actresses.
And one of the country’s top comedians, Petros Filippidis, has been pulled from a popular public TV show after allegations of lewd behavior by actresses.
Under Greek law, however, few complaints can be prosecuted, as they would have taken place too long ago.
(Except for the title, this story was not edited by The Bharat Express News staff and is posted Platforms.)