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Athens Orphanage Under Investigation for Sexual Abuse of Young Boys

Sexual abuse at Athens orphanage
Three complaints have been filed against an Athens orphanage for the alleged sexual abuse of four boys, ages seven to 11. Credit:  Alan Creative Commons Attribution 2.0

The Deputy Minister of Labor and Social Affairs Domna Michailidou said on Greek national television on Thursday that she has filed criminal complaints against an Athens orphanage for the sexual abuse of boys.

At this time of year when the world partakes in family-oriented celebrations, Greeks have been shocked to learn of the alleged abuse of young boys. In a place intended to be a haven from a toxic home environment, young boys were allegedly encouraged and pressured by orphanage staff members to perform sexual acts with one another, while the adults who cared for them watched them.

In this case, the deputy minister of the nation went directly to the prosecutor with the complaints and then revealed the horrific story on Greek television.

After receiving a signed letter of complaint alleging the exploitation and sexual abuse of boys, ages seven to 11, at an Athens institution, Michailidou contacted the prosecutors office.

An indictment was submitted to the court, setting in motion an immediate, in depth police investigation about what had taken place at the orphanage.

Deputy Minister Michailidou Kalimera Ellada
The Deputy Minister for Labor and Social Welfare appeared on Antenna TV’s Kalimera Ellada morning talk show to discuss allegations of sexual abuse in an Athens orphanage. Credit: Screenshot from Youtube

Deputy Minister Charges Sexual Abuse of Boys at Athens Orphanage

According to Michailidou, the abuse was in the form of not only sexual acts but violence as well. She also disclosed that female staff members are under investigation. At least four young boys took part in the acts performed during their residency at the private facility.

The children who reside at this particular institution, which is private but receives public funding, had been remanded to the orphanage following a prosecutor’s order that deemed their family environment was unsuitable for them to remain in the care of their parents.

The boys were transferred on Wednesday from the orphanage to Paiedon – Agia Sophia Pediatric hospital in Athens for physical and psychological evaluations by medical doctors to assess their trauma. According to Michailidou, the boys were finally able to describe what took place in a safe, non-threatening environment.

Michailidou also disclosed that an investigation is already pending against the orphanage for a previous indictment regarding housing more children than what was being reported to the authorities. The facility is suspected of illegal adoption activity as well, as some minors were not officially registered at the facility.

During the last two weeks, the deputy minister filed three complaints with the prosecutor’s office. Three individuals associated with the institution have denounced violence against the children housed at the orphanage as well as describing the sexual acts taking place the between minors, in the presence of, and at the behest of, female employees of the facility.

“The first thing I did was to go to the prosecutor’s office again, file a complaint with the Deputy Prosecutor for Child Protection and immediately after that I froze the funding for this institution and organized an investigation, together with the National Transparency Authority,” stated Michailidou.

A teacher who worked part-time shifts at the orphanage filed a written complaint, according to a report published in Proto Thema. The complaint accused the director and the psychologist of the institution of being aware of what was going on and not intervening. “The 7-year-old pulled down his pants and told me ‘now I’m raping the doll.’ I was told not to pay attention to the boy by the director and the psychologist.”

The complaint alleges that “They had a cloth doll; most of the children had sex with her, they threatened to beat us.”

The complaint filed also states “The shift ended by watching the 11-year-old masturbate. When I told the director what I saw, he did not seem surprised. My colleague told me that unbelievable things are happening there, the children were hitting them in the face.

“When a large part of the staff became ill with COVID, the cleaners took care of them, the children turned around with red cheeks. A two-year-old child had also been beaten, they were all aware.”

The Deputy Minister said that although this particular facility was under immediate investigation, in the coming months investigations would be launched nationwide in other facilities.

Michailidou, who served as a lecturer in economics at Cambridge prior to serving the Greek government, noted that employees are required to have a clear criminal record. Staff members of orphanages in Greece cannot be employed by a facility even if they have only been indicted and not prosecuted for any crime in the past.

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