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Greek Theater Ex-Chief Held on Rape of Minors, Denies Charges

Ευρωκίνηση

The former head of the Greek National Theater, Dimitris Lignadis (EUROKINISSI/Yiannis Panagopoulos)

ATHENS - Denying the accusations, the former head of the Greek National Theater, Dimitris Lignadis, was put in pre-trial detention over charges of repeatedly sexually molesting underage boys and rapes.

That came after a four-hour session in court where he testified the charges were false and said that, “I have never expressed an erotic-sexual interest in underage individuals, nor have I ever had any erotic-sexual contact with any underage individual, with or without their consent,” reported Kathimerini.

That came in writing, a 27-page statement in which he said the charges were “lies” and claimed that the allegations have been “fabricated” by the board of the Greek Actors’ Guild in retaliation for criticism from Lignadis over how it runs the association and handles its finances.

“These people have envied me since the start of my career,” he said, saying it was envy that drove the accusations, union officials saying they have received a flood of complaints about sexual harassment in the arts community.

He resigned his position and turned himself in after an arrest warrant was issued following lawsuits filed against him by two men who say he raped them when they were minors, one case of a 14-year-old in 2010.

His defense lawyer, Alexis Kougias, said the rapes never happened and also that the alleged victims “were Egyptians.” The case “truly has no evidence”, Kougias told reporters outside a prosecutors’ office. “I am sure that in the end this person will be freed,” the news agency Reuters reported.

He said the evidence against Lignadis was a “crude fabrication,” but his request for the arrest warrants to be revoked was denied and Lignadis kept in detention until trial.