More women to file complaints against former bishop

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More women have come forward with complaints of sexual misconduct against former Larnaca Bishop Chrysostomos after he was found guilty of sexually assaulting a teenage girl in a historic case dating back 42 years.

According to Phileleftheros daily, two are ready to come forward besides the six women who have already filed complaints against the high-ranking cleric.

The high-ranking priest was found guilty of sexually assaulting a teenage girl in 1981 after a year-long trial, which ended with the Larnaca District Court finding the testimony of the now 58-year-old victim and the defence witnesses credible.

Six women have already provided statements to the police, while another two have contacted a known theologist for advice on how to proceed with their complaints.

Talking to Phileleftheros, theologist Theodoros Kyriacou said two women, who are not among the six who have already filed complaints, contacted him following this week’s court decision.

“They told me they had fallen prey to the former Larnaca Bishop. So I advised them to file an official complaint with the police,” said Kyriacou.

Of the six women who have already come forward, four did so back in 2021, while two more during the trial concerning the sexual assault on the then 16-year-old girl.

Police Spokesperson Christos Andreou advised anyone with such a complaint to come forward, noting that the force has a division dedicated to handling complaints of sexual abuse.

“In recent years, a large number of similar cases have been investigated.

“We, at the police force, guarantee that we will handle their case with confidentiality,” said Andreou.

Meanwhile, following the court’s decision, the Holy Synod is set to decide how to handle the former bishop.

Kyriacou told Phileleftheros that the Synod has three options and will probably take a decision following the former bishop’s sentencing at the end of the month.

According to Kyriacou, the first option is to defrock the former bishop.

The second is to prohibit him from conducting church services and preaching, while the third option is to have him confined in a monastery and evict him from his current residency at the Larnaca Bishopric.

The Holy Synod is set to convene on 13 June.

Kyriacou argued that the Holy Synod should defrock the former bishop; however, he doesn’t believe the church leaders are brave enough to go down that path.

“Because he is an old colleague of theirs, I believe that they will send him on leave.

“I personally believe that they should defrock him to deter other clerics from behaving in a similar manner”.