Soaring sexual harassment cases going to court

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An avalanche of historical sexual harassment cases involving a track and field coach, doctor, politician, and former bishop that have come to light are slowly finding their way to court.

The news was announced by Cyprus Attorney-General George Savvides, who took to Twitter on Monday, saying he gave instructions for prosecutions to go ahead.

Here are now two cases of sexual harassment before the courts, one involving a doctor accused of abusing a patient and an athletics coach accused of harassing his former athletes.

A track and field coach, accused by four women athletes of sexual assault, was filed with the court as police probe similar allegations against other sports officials, a former Euro MP, and a doctor.

The athletics coach’s case file was handed to the Attorney General by police, and one involving a basketball coach accused of sexually harassing two female players.

He was reported a few years ago but could not be taken to court due to a lack of evidence.

However, according to the first complainant’s relatives, a second athlete has now come forward with similar claims.

A second case before the courts involves a doctor who works at a Nicosia hospital and was reported last year by a 23-year-old female patient of sexual harassment.

Reportedly, the same doctor was found guilty of indecent assault and sexually harassing a 19-year-old woman a few years ago, for which he received an €8,000 fine.

The doctor’s case has gone to court, with the trial starting in March.

Two more cases are also pending; one involves a high-ranking sports official accused of sexually abusing Olympic shooter Andri Eleftheriou. Another four shooters say the same person harassed them.

Police are also investigating another woman’s complaint that a well-known politician and a former Member of the European Parliament assaulted her in 2014 when she was 24.

Also sending shockwaves through Cypriot society are allegations that a high-ranking priest drugged and raped women.

The priest, a former bishop, was accused in 2011 by a woman on a TV show, but no action was taken by authorities until recently when another victim said she was abused in the same way aged 16.

Cases of sexual assault have soared since champion shooter Andri Eleftheriou, 36, came forward to report her tormentor to police last month.

Police and fire service trade unions demand a special protocol for preventing and handling complaints regarding sexual harassment or humiliating behaviour against female members.