ATHENS (Reuters) – Greek police on Saturday arrested a prominent theater director on rape charges, the latest turning point in the MeToo saga unveiled by the country’s arts institutions.
Dimitris Lignadis, the former artistic director of the Greek National Theater who resigned earlier this month after allegations of harassment in media reports, turned himself in to police after a prosecutor issued an arrest warrant.
Greek TV showed Lignadis, handcuffed, being brought before a judge on Sunday. He will be detained until his admission on Wednesday, police said. His lawyer said he denies the allegations.
The arrest warrant came after two lawsuits were filed against him by two men who allegedly raped him at a much younger age. One of the two lawsuits falls under the statute of limitations.
The issue has quickly spilled over into politics with opposition parties accusing the government and its culture minister of a failed cover-up attempt and demanding her resignation.
On Friday, Culture Minister Lina Mendoni, whose ministry oversees the National Theater, told reporters that Lignadis had deceived him, calling him a dangerous man.
From the moment the rumors started … we pressed him hard to tell us if he had any involvement, Think Think told reporters.
I feel that Lignadis, among other things, connected us. With a deep acting art he tried to convince us that he had nothing to do with it all, she said.
Greece’s #MeToo revelations took off when Sofia Bekatorou, a Greek sailing gold medalist at the 2004 Olympics, opened last month in connection with the sexual assault by a 21-year-old sports official.
Her account – and the outpouring of support she provoked – caused dozens of actors, singers, athletes and students to come forward in Greece delaying MeToo’s moment, shocking the arts institution and amassing pressure for change.
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