Athens.- (GreekNewsOnline, ANA-MPA)
Former artistic director of the National Theater, Dimitris Lignadis was arrested on Saturday, after more men and women came forward accusing him for sexually abusing them when they were at young age, even underage. New lawsuits have been filed for incidents that are not statute-barred with the Athens Prosecutor’s Office. A new complaint filed on Friday concerns the rape of a 14-year-old in 2010.
According to “Kathimerini”, the complaint filed by the alleged victim describes his rape by the well-known theater figure when he was 14 years old. He also said that he himself does not belong to the arts world and that he met the alleged perpetrator in the area of Metaxourgeio, near central Athens. He said he made his acquaintance because he was in awe of the director and actor, who later raped him in his home.
The lawyer representing the alleged victim has described the accused as “dangerous,” warning that he may continue his illegal activities.
Prior to Lignadis arrest, the lawyer of the former director of the National Theater, Nikos Georgouleas, said his client was “not being sought” by the police.
Responding to social media posts that claim Lignadis is currently at the Attica police headquarters (GADA), Georgouleas said, “We have asked for an official briefing by authorities and were told by police that as of now, Dimitris Lignadis is not being sought.”
Few hours later he was arrested.
MINISTER OF CULTURE
Minister of Culture Lina Mendoni came under a barrage of fire on Friday from opposition parties over alleged foot-dragging in the case of Dimitris Lignadis.
During a press conference Friday Mendoni described him as a “dangerous person” who had “deceived her.”
“From the moment the rumors started, we pressed him hard to tell us the truth. He deceived us, he deceived me. He tried to convince us that he had nothing to do with all this, that the rumors do not concern him,” she said.
Lina Mendoni set all the Ministry’s services and herself at the Justice’s disposal when and if it is considered necessary. She said the sexual abuse is a hideous and disgraceful case she noted adding that “we are state of law and that’s why we follow the institutional way, the Justice”.
Mendoni said that she submitted a complaint report-memo to the Supreme Court (Areios Paghos) prosecutor in which she asks for the thorough investigation of the alleged unlawful cases in the theatre.
“Lignadis (former National Theatre director) deceived us with theatrical performance” said Mendoni. She added “from the first time the rumors started we pressed him a lot to tell the truth. With the art of acting he tried to convince us that the rumors are not about him. And while the rumors multiplied for his inappropriate actions, he insisted.”
She said that he resigned after the interview by N.S.
N.S. is a former actor who gave a detailed interview on a website about his brutal abuse by the director and actor. when he 18 years old. The crime is written off due to statute of limitations.
To the accusations that the Ministry protected the art director due to friendly relations, Minister Mendoni stressed that he was never her friend nor a friend of the prime minister.
“Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis was not Lignadis’ personal friends, but he only knew him from the theater as I did,” she said.
Rumors say Lignadis was couching Mitsotakis for public appearances and speeches, something the Prime Minister’s office denies. But he was one of the first direct appointments Mendoni made as Minister of Culture, cancelling a process that had started during SYRIZA administration, with many candidates interviewed.
Calling these accusations as “fabricated fake news” Mendoni said about the former art director that “he is a dangerous man” and that we learned this now; we didn’t know it before…”
Despite the fact that the Culture Minister finally spoke about the issue that and named the alleged abusers, on social media, Greeks demand her resignation.
This was too little, too late for SYRIZA, which referred to “delayed statements of condemnation,” pointing the finger at both Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and Mendoni, who, it said, is a personal friend of Lignadis and tried to protect him.
“I had demanded the resignation of Mrs Mendoni. Why? Because for two weeks she covered up these allegations, the accusations, until the artistic director of the National Theater himself resigned,” said SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras.
SYRIZA-Progressive Alliance spokesperson Nassos Iliopoulos characterised Culture Minister Lina Mendoni’s press conference on Friday “a monument to political cowardness and deceit”, noting that Mendoni “discovered with a 20-day delay that (former National Theatre director) Dimitris Lignadis is dangerous and has deceived her”.
“The only thing we expected today from Mrs. Mendoni was her resignation and confession for the cover up. Now, her resignation is not enough but her non-resignation is outrageous” Iliopoulos said.
“The responsibility for the cover-up attempt falls on Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, as Lignadis was his personal choice”, concluded Iliopoulos.
The government has encouraged the first victims of sexual harassment to come forth, and “the prime minister stood by the victims of molestation from the very start,” a statement from PM Kyriakos Mitsotakis’ office said on Friday.
The statement responded to allegations by main opposition SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras that the former director of the National Theater Dimitris Lignadis was “a personal friend of the prime minister” and other allegations by the party on how the government responded to the issue.
“It’s truly obscene that Mr. Tsipras tries to take advantage of all these shocking revelations, giving them a party-related hue,” the statement said, adding that the PM knew Lignadis “only from his theatrical performances, which he had attended.”
“It’s sad that a case which should unite the political world Syriza tries to turn into main opposition poison,” it said.
Mitsotakis: A veil
of silence has broken
The revelations of the last days after the complaints about what has happened in the theatre (and not only), but also the recent bad weather that hit the region of Attica and other parts of the country, were the main issues of the talks between President of the Republic Katerina Sakellaropoulou and Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis.
Addressing the President of the Republic, Mitsotakis started referred to the power cuts in the region of Attica following the recent snowstorm. The prime minister reassured her that every effort is being made to restore electricity as soon as possible. “I know that there were delays, I fully understand the annoyance and anger of the citizens,” Mitsotakis said.
He added: “We will correct some things and become better in the future to deal with such phenomena preventively, but also in retrospect. I estimate that by the end of the day the electricity supply will have been restored in the last areas that were affected by the bad weather, but you should know that in the areas of Dionysos and Ekali, we had to rebuild the electricity network from the beginning. In any case, we must become better at how we deal with these phenomena in the future.”
The Prime Minister also referred to another issue which dominates lately. “A veil of silence has broken with the shocking revelations in the framework of #metoo. Phenomena of authoritarian violence, primarily against women but not only, which I believe shocked us all, shook us all, some people broke the silence with their voices. The time has now come for us to take action on these allegations.”