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Greek Abuse Scandal: Police Arrest Coach Suspected of Rape

The sailing coach was arrested on Sunday. Credit: GreekReporter

A Greek sailing coach who admitted on Friday that he had what he called a “relationship” with an 11-year-old athlete was arrested on the island of Samos on Sunday.

He will be charged with aggravated rape, seduction, and misconduct.

A Greek prosecutor investigating the case received testimonies from the athlete her self as well as her parents.

The prosecutor instantly issued an arrest warrant against the accused coach, who was arrested at his home.

On Friday the accused revealed on television that he had had an affair with the athlete when she was 11.

He denied raping the girl, claiming it was a “platonic” and consensual “relationship.”

The 38-year-old coach, who was fired after his “relationship” became known, said that he “wanted to marry” the girl, who is now a 21 year old.

“I cannot accept the word ‘rape’, because rape I believe is something that happens against the will of the other. When there is something reciprocal, I do not think there is rape,” he stated to the interviewer.

“On the contrary, the feelings I had and had manifested and we had agreed that when she grows up a little more we will get married,” he added.

The disgraced coach claimed that he waited until the girl turned 18 before asking her to marry him.

“I was waiting for her to grow up, to choose me on her own. I love her, how can I explain it to you?” he told Greek journalist Nikos Evaggelatos.

The shocking admission by the sailing coach has rocked Greek public opinion.

Pandora’s box

The Greek Olympian Sofia Bekatorou was one of the first to publicly reveal that she had been sexually assaulted last week.

In a heartbreaking statement, given during an online conference aimed at protecting children and young people in sports, called “Break the Silence  – -Speak out– Don’t Stand for it,” Bekatorou detailed the assault she suffered at the hands of an important figure involved with the Hellenic Sailing Federation.

The news came as a shock, as Bekatorou’s allegations brought to the surface a taboo issue that plagues not only the sports world but Greek society as a whole.

As more female athletes have come forward and spoken out about being victims of sexual harassment and assault in what is now known as Greece’s #MeToo movement, politicians have also laudably stepped forward, promising to tackle the issue that goes beyond the sports world.

Courage for speaking out

Earlier this week, Greek President Katerina Sakellaropoulou praised the courage of Olympian sailor Sophia Bekatorou for speaking out against sexual abuse in sport.

Sakellaropoulou said that her meeting with Bekatorou at the Presidential Mansion in Athens was “a minimal recognition of the bravery and dignity with which she shared her traumatic experience.”

Sakellaropoulou said Bekatorou’s courage offered hope to other women who had suffered similar abuse in their personal and professional lives.

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