Ex-bishop back in court for sexual harassment

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Former Kition Bishop Chrysostomos is back in court, facing sexual assault charges after being acquitted in a rape case last year.

This time a woman is accusing him of assaulting her when she sought financial aid from the church at 16.

On Tuesday, the Larnaca Criminal Court heard the testimony of the now 57-year-old woman accusing the former bishop of sexually assaulting her in November 1981.

The woman told the judges the incident happened when she had visited the bishop seeking financial help after losing her father.

The plaintiff told the court that the bishop had told her to sit on a maroon sofa, where he allegedly harassed her by touching her hands.

According to the woman’s testimony, the bishop later asked her to come back another time for the money promised.

During her second visit to his office, the woman said the bishop hugged her and showed her photos of him inside a cable car in Switzerland, noting he was in civilian clothes and had his arms around two women.

She had visited Chrysostomos five times, and he kept telling her to come back as the money was not ready.

On the fifth visit, the bishop hugged her as he led her upstairs to his office. The bishop locked the door and offered the woman a drink when they entered.

When she refused, he proceeded to push her back on the couch and tried to kiss her.

The woman told the bishop to let her go, but he refused, putting his hand to her mouth and grabbing her leg.

The plaintiff said she was in a state of panic all the way home, and her mother had called a doctor who injected her with a tranquillizer.

This is the second time Chrysostomos has appeared before a court on sexual assault charges.

Last year in a separate rape case, another woman alleged that Chrysostomos offered her an alcoholic beverage before proceeding to rape her.

Chrysostomos refused to take the stand, handing in an unsworn statement denying the rape, while his lawyers claimed he was not mentally fit to stand trial.

The former bishop was later acquitted, and the court ruled that the accuser had “made multiple contradictory statements” during the trial held behind closed doors.

A third criminal case against the bishop involves indecent assault.