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Sailing coach arrested for the rape of 11-year-old athlete; he claimed “consensual relationship”

Authorities arrested on Sunday, a former sailing coach who admitted live on a private TV channel that he had had what he claimed a “consensual relationship” with an 11-year-old athlete. The arrest on Sunday took place on the island of Samos where the man has been living and working in recent years.

The arrest warrant was issued by the First Instance prosecutor in Athens, Nikos Stefanatos, who reportedly carried out preliminary investigation under extreme secrecy over the weekend and received the testimonies by the now 21-year-old sailing athlete and her parents.

The 38-year-old man faces felony charges on repeated rape, repeated seduction and indecent abuse. The charges  reportedly refer to acts conducted 2010-2013.

The case of the rape of the 11-year-old girl was initially reported to prosecutor by Olympic gold medalist Sofia Bekatorou who opened the Pandora’s box of sexual abuse in the world of sailing sports. Neither the name of the girl nor of the coach leaked to public.

However, it was the coach himself who spoke to media initially under conditions of anonymity.

Speaking to Mega TV on Friday afternoon, the coach claimed that what he had with the girl was a “platonic” and “consensual relationship.” At the time of the “relationship” the age difference was 16 years he said.

He said further that he “wanted to marry” the girl.

“I can not accept the word ‘rape’, because rape I believe is something that happens against the will of the other. When there is something reciprocal, I do not think there is rape,” he told MEGA TV and the stunned audience.

“On the contrary, the feelings I had and had manifested and we had agreed that when she grows up a little more, we will get married,” he added.

However, the victim side accused him of rape. Speaking on condition of anonymity to media, the victim said that her family had threatened him with “restraining order” and refrained from turning to justice for social reasons. The family lived in a village and did not want the girl to be stigmatized.

“We asked for restrictive measures. My parents either had to protect me or had me exposed to an entire village, which would be too heavy for me, 11 years old. So we decided not to take legal action, apart from addressing the then board of the [sailing] Club, that just buried the issue, who just looked to diasyroyn to an entire village,” the athlete told Open TV last Friday where she spoke publicly for the first time.

“It was rape in every sense. I was then 11 years old. I was in shock and instead of supporting me, they wanted to destroy me. It was very difficult. Now that I have reached an age where I can defend myself and more so for my family, I do not accept some things and that is why some things need to come to light and the whole thing needs to be fixed,” she added.

She is currently a member of the National Sailing Team and a student.

Even if the abuse took place 10 years ago, it not subject to “statute limitation” as for such crimes this is 15 years.

Accoridng to a police statement issued on the coach arrest the warrant

Still on Sunday and before his arrest, the disgraced coach slightly changed his original version. Speaking to media with his name he accused the then 11-year-old girl and her mother for trying to lure him because he was rich. Furthermore, he claimed that the athlete was not 11-12 years old but “older, around 15.” He reiterated that he had close contacts with the family and called on them :”to admit that they wanted him as son-in-law.”

According to the Greek laws, there cannot be “consensual relationships” with minors up to 12 years old.

The former coach is scheduled to be transferred to Athens from Samos on Sunday evening.

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2 comments

  1. keeptalkinggreece

    other punishment

  2. In Greek law 12 year old youngsters are judged as capable to consent to sexual relationships. That’s at an age girls may not even have reached puberty.
    HOW ABSURD is this? 12 year old children / youngsters to fully understand the impact of sexual intercourse, contraception, SID, pregnancy..