Famous Greek artist arrested on charges of sexual abuse

Greek actor and director Dimitris Lignadis was arrested Saturday in Athens on charges of sexual abuse, Greek national news agency AMNA reported.

Shortly earlier, a prosecutor issued a warrant after evaluating two lawsuits filed by two men who accused the artist of sexual abuse. In one case, the alleged victim, who is now 25 years old, testified that Lignadis abused him when he was 14 years old.

Speaking to local media after the arrest, Lignadis’ lawyer said that his client denies all allegations.

“It is now Justice’s time to speak. We are confident that judicial authorities will do whatever it takes to bring everything to light in this very dark case and bring justice,” commented a press release issued by the Ministry of Justice. “The silence that prevailed for so many years has been broken.”

Lignadis resigned as the artistic director of the National Theater on Feb. 6 amid a wave of allegations on media that he has sexually abused many individuals for several years.

His case is one of the many claims that have been made lately about chronic abuse in Greece’s arts world. The Hellenic Actors’ Union has said that it had received over 1,000 complaints by female and male artists within a few weeks.

The revelations followed a similar wave that rocked the Greek sports world in January. Greece’s #MeToo Movement started in mid-January when Greek Olympic sailing champion Sofia Bekatorou first talked openly about her sexual harassment by a former sports official 23 years ago.

Bekatorou’s case will not reach the courts, as the alleged offense has exceeded a 15-year statute of limitations under Greek legislation.

A survey released on Friday evening by polling firm Alco showed that 86 percent of citizens request an amendment so that there will no longer be a statute of limitations for sex crimes.

Another survey released recently by Prorata polling firm revealed that 65 percent of Greek women said they had suffered sexual harassment.