Senior cleric goes on trial for rape

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A former high-ranking cleric of the Church of Cyprus will go on trial before the Larnaca Criminal Court on 26 April to face charges of rape and faces a separate historic indecent assault charge of a minor.

On Monday, the clergyman understood to be a former bishop, appeared before Larnaca District court.

He was referred to trial for raping a woman when still in office and a separate indecent assault on another female.

The clergyman was released on a €50,000 bail and asked to hand in his travel documents.

The former bishop was sent to trial for the rape that occurred in April 2011.

He is also accused of indecently assaulting a woman, then underaged, in November 1981.

Police filed the second case in court on Monday; the trial date was scheduled for 8 June.

Currently, police are looking into an avalanche of historical sexual abuse cases involving a doctor, basketball coach, theatre director and politician.

Having already looked into more than 20 cases, officers have their hands full, including one against a former MEP and more from the world of sport. Some cases are already in court.

Complaints climbed sharply following Olympic shooter Andri Eleftheriou reported a sports official for historical sexual abuse.

Her case had resurfaced after Greek athlete Sophia Bekatorou spoke out publicly about her rape by a senior member of the Hellenic sailing federation in 1998.

Bekatorou and Eleftheriou paved the way for people sexually abused to break their silence, with a domino effect of harassment reports in Greece and Cyprus.