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Society

Greek Court Cuts Sentence for Man, 67, Who Sexually Assaulted Girl, 9

THESSALONIKI – An Appeals Court in Greece’s second-largest city suspended most of the sentence of an unidentified 67-year-old man for having sex with a 9-year-old girl after he said he didn’t have bad intentions and she misundertood what he did to her.

Despite being convicted, he wasn’t named but was said to be a martial arts instructor who had been found guilty by a lower court for seducing the underage student, no explanation whether it was rape or sexual assault.

The abuse was reported in 2013, when the girl was then , said Kathimerini, the court accepting his plea that it was a misunderstanding and limiting his sentence to four years, three of which were suspended.

The court also said recognized good behavior since the arrest as being in his favor but said he will be monitored and isn’t allowed to again approach the girl he sexually assaulted.

The leniency came despite a change in the rape law in 2019 to toughen penalties that had been reduced by the former ruling Radical Left SYRIZA, including for violent acts.

Current legislation defines rape as a forced sexual act following violence or the threat of “severe or direct danger,” and punishes offenders with a minimum five years in prison, no reason given for leniency in this case.

The change is part of a broader criminal law reform that reduced sentences for some serious offenses but ensures that more convicted criminals get sent to prison although some get out if they cite health reasons being accepted.

At the time, the Amnesty International rights group hailed the new definition as an “historic victory” for women in Greece, but apparently not for minors or underage victims as in this case.

“This newly amended law finally recognizes the simple truth that sex without consent is rape and makes it clear that physical violence is not required for the crime to be considered rape,” said Eirini Gaitanou, an Amnesty activist in Greece.

 

(Material from the Associated Press was used in this report)

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