Former bishop acquitted of rape

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Former Kition Bishop Chrysostomos was acquitted of rape charges on Friday after the Criminal Court found him not guilty of attacking a woman in 2011.

The 83-year-old former bishop was acquitted after the court found the woman’s testimony to be unreliable.

“I feel vindicated. Justice has prevailed,” Chrysostomos told the Cyprus News Agency.

The court ruled the prosecution’s case was based on the plaintiff’s testimony which had been found to contain “many contradictions, lies and erratic allegations in essential, main and key points.”

The former bishop was sent to trial for the rape that allegedly took place in April 2011 in his office in Larnaca when he was Bishop of Kition.

The woman alleged the bishop had offered her alcohol before raping her.

He faces another court procedure concerning an indecent assault of an underaged woman. The plaintiff was 16 at the time.

The cases against the former bishop were among many complaints of sexual harassment and abuse against officials in a trusted position, including a former MEP, doctor, and athletics coach.

Complaints climbed sharply after 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.