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Greece’s Former National Theater Director Arrested on Rape Charges

National Theater director faces rape charges
Former Greek National Theater Artistic Director Dimitris Lignadis. Credit: Facebook/National Theatre of Greece

Former Greek National Theater Artistic Director Dimitris Lignadis is being held in custody after a warrant for his arrest was issued on charges of serial rape.

Lignadis is accused of two rapes. One of a 14-year-boy, in 2010, and another for which the victim has been deposed in front of prosecutors and which has not been made known as of yet.

A woman who was intimately connected with Lignadis and was knowledgeable about his private life is said to have provided important testimony.

According to the Hellenic Police, Lignadis presented himself at police headquarters, in central Athens, where he was subsequently arrested.

He is being held at the building pending an appearance before an examining magistrate.

The judicial authorities moved in complete secrecy, with prosecutors working methodically and swiftly, examining many witnesses in the cases.

The witnesses brought to light crucial information for the prosecution, leading prosecutors Costas Spyropoulos and Nikos Stefanatos to press criminal charges.

The case file had been forwarded to the public investigator, who agreed to issue the arrest warrant.

The new testimonies against Lignadis that were presented to the prosecution by the witnesses are incriminating. The accused will be taken to the interrogator immediately after his arrest.

Political repercussions

Lignadis had resigned from his post earlier this month after complaining of what he called a “toxic climate of rumors, innuendo, and leaks.”

However, since he was appointed to the post of National Theater artistic director by the Minister of Culture, Melina Mendoni, the government is now under fire.

Following the accusations against Lignadis, opposition parties blame prime minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and Mendoni.

Both Mitsotakis and Mendoni are accused of being aware of Lignadis’s illegal activities, yet they put him at the highest post of Greece’s National Theater.

Minister of Culture defends herself

Social media is on fire over the issue as more and more people come to the forefront speaking about lewd activities in the theater world.

On Friday, the Minister of Culture held a press conference to reply to an avalanche of accusations and calls to resign.

Mendoni said she herself had confronted Lignadis about the accusations — many of which took place so long ago that they are beyond the criminal statute of limitations.

“We strongly pressured Lignadis to say if he was the one named in the rumors… there was a steady denial that the rumors were not about him,” Mendoni said.

“Lignadis deceived us and deceived me with theatrical performance,” Mendoni said, according to Greece’s state-run news agency AMNA.

Mendoni called Lignadis “a dangerous man” who had managed to deceive many people about his actions.

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