Politician accused of rape pleads not guilty

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A candidate MP who withdrew from the parliamentary elections when accused of rape will stand trial in October after pleading not guilty to the charges before a Criminal Court in Larnaca.

The 31-year-old Cypriot defendant, identified as Andreas Taouxis, a Larnaca municipal councillor, was to stand as an MP but decided to withdraw after a woman accused him of rape before the May vote.

Taouxis has issued a statement claiming his innocence while arguing the police complaint was filed with malicious intentions, specifically to harm his pre-election campaign.

The accused is charged with raping a woman who had turned to him for help on 1 January 2011.

After the politician pleaded not guilty on Thursday, the Larnaca court set the hearing for 6 October 2021

The prosecutor dropped the second charge of kidnapping.

The accused was released on €20,000 bail and ordered to present himself once a week at a local police station.

The woman had reported the alleged incident through her social media accounts in April before filing an official complaint with the police in May.

Complaints of sexual harassment in Cyprus have climbed sharply following Olympic shooter Andri Eleftheriou reporting a sports official for sexual abuse earlier this year.

Eleftheriou’s case was dropped on legal technicalities, as the alleged offence took place outside the Cyprus Republic when she was at an international shooting event.

Police are now looking into an avalanche of historical sexual abuse cases involving a doctor, basketball coach, theatre director and former bishop.

The case involving rape charges against the former Larnaca Bishop, Chrysostomos, is currently before courts.

The former Larnaca Bishop, 83, is on trial for raping a woman when still in office in 2011 and a separate indecent assault charge on another female.

Sexual harassment allegations against a former Euro MP is among three cases currently being reviewed by the Attorney General’s office.