ATHENS – Tougher penalties are coming for perpetrators of sexual and gender-based violence and offenses in Greece under a measure being prepared by the New Democracy government in the wake of spreading sex scandals in sports, the arts and other sectors.
Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis told his Cabinet that there will be “significant changes,” while also noting that penalties are also “becoming heavier for a number of environmental crimes, such as forest fires.”
The former ruling Radical Left SYRIZA downgraded felonies, including for rape, to misdemeanors, that saw at least one serial rapist freed from jail only to go back for raping again.
Among the reforms, said Kathimerini, will be extending the statute of limitations for sexual offenses, including misdemeanors, for crimes against minors. Time had run out for alleged offenders in cases involving major athletes to be prosecuted.
For misdemeanors the statute of limitations will start when the victim turns 19 years old, one year after reaching the age of consent. For felonies it will start at 21, or three years after coming of age under Greek law.
This means there will be more time for victims to file a complaint and that the offense is not statute-barred as it sometimes take years for people to step up and claim they had been sexually abused or raped.
The new changes also mean that sexual offenses against minors will be prosecuted by default, regardless of whether a complaint is filed or not, if police find there is a case.
The new code would remove the right of prisoners convicted of serious crimes to serve their sentences under house arrest, wearing an ankle tracker which can be broken allowing an offender to escape.
Incest, which had been reduced to a misdemeanor by SYRIZA, will become a felony punishable by up to 10 years in jail and felons must serve at least 80 percent of a sentence if convicted of drug trafficking, membership of a criminal organization, terrorist acts, robbery, extortion or any form of rape.
Those who receive life sentences must serve at least 18 years instead of 16 which is the case now which means they really aren't life sentences despite being called that.
Murder, gang rape, rape of a minor or high treason also are crimes subject to life imprisonment, which doesn't mean life, while sexual harassment in the workplace could lead to imprisonment instead of a fine.