The former artistic director of the Greek National Theater was arrested on Saturday for allegedly raping minors in a belated #MeToo awakening.
Dimitris Lignadis, a well-known actor and director, is charged with serial rape and indecent assault under the arrest warrant.
56-year-old Lignadis resigned on February 6, citing a “toxic climate of rumors, innuendos and leaks”. According to the Greek media, he is at the center of numerous allegations of sexual abuse of minors.
He was arrested the day after Culture Minister Lina Mendoni said she had asked prosecutors to deal with rumors that had been circulating about him and publicly described him as a “dangerous person”.
“We put a lot of pressure on Lignadis to say if he was the one named in the rumors … there was a steady denial that the rumors were about him,” Mendoni said. He cheated on us, he cheated on me, “she added.
Her comments angered Lignadis, who shot back: “If I am a dangerous man in my personal life or work, we should wait for history and other institutions to decide.”
Lignadis lawyer Nikos Georgouleas said Saturday that his client had denied all allegations and was arrested after introducing himself to authorities.
– ‘Cover up’ –
A complaint was filed against Lignadis on Friday for raping a 14-year-old boy in 2010, 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 public television.
According to the ANA, the prosecutor received another deposit late Friday night.
This witness alleged that he was with friends under the age of 18 at the director’s house, where the director harassed them with alcohol and drugs and encouraged them to have group sex.
The Lignadis case has sparked a war of words between the government and opposition parties who have called for Mendoni’s resignation and accused her of gaining a foothold in the case.
Opposition party leader Alexis Tsipras said Friday the government had tried a “cover-up” and added that Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis was “a friend of Lignadis”.
“It is really obscene that Mr Tsipras is trying to take advantage of all of these shocking revelations and give them a partisan tone,” a statement from the prime minister’s office said late Friday. Mr. Mitsotakis “only knew Lignadis for his theatrical productions in which he participated,” he added.
More than three years after the #MeToo movement emerged in the US, the code of silence in Greece was broken by two-time Olympic sailing medalist Sofia Bekatorou.
Bekatorou claimed in December that she was 21 years old when she was subjected to “sexual harassment and ill-treatment” by a senior member of the Union in his hotel room shortly after the trials for the 2000 Sydney Olympics.
Several other high profile figures, including actors and university professors, have also been implicated in allegations of bullying, harassment and abuse in recent weeks.
Considered one of Greece’s best actors, Giorgos Kimoulis was banned from this year’s Athens and Epidaurus Festival after a series of bullying allegations by actresses.
And one of the country’s top comedians, Petros Filippidis, was removed from a popular state television show after actresses alleged lewd behavior.
However, under Greek law, few of the complaints can be prosecuted as they allegedly appeared too long ago.
(Except for the headline, this story was not edited by GossipMantri staff and published from a syndicated feed.)