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Ex-Artistic Director of Greece’s National Theater arrested, charged with rape

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A well-known Greek stage actor and director has been arrested on rape charges, police say.

Dimitris Lignadis, 56, turned himself in Saturday afternoon at Athens police headquarters, Greek Police spokesman, Theodoros Chronopoulos, told the Associated Press.

On Sunday, Lignadis appeared before a court in Athens and was given until Wednesday to respond to charges of multiple rapes by an examining magistrate. He will remain jailed until then, court authorities said.

The magistrate and a prosecutor will jointly decide later whether he will be kept in jail or released pending his trial.

READ MORE: Olympic gold medalist Sofia Bekatorou claims she was sexually assaulted by official.

According to court sources, Lignadis is accused of rape by two men who were minors when the events occurred in 2010 and 2015. He has denied any wrongdoing.

Rumors of his alleged sexual misconduct swelled in recent weeks, leading to Lignadis’ resignation two weeks ago as Artistic Director of Greece’s National Theater, a post he had held since 2019.

Plain clothed police officers escort handcuffed well-known actor and director, Dimitris Lignadis, center, as they leave a magistrate’s office in Athens, Sunday, February 21, 2021. Photo: AP Photo/Yorgos Karahalis.

Revelations earlier this year by an Olympic gold medalist that she had been raped by a sailing federation official back in 1998 have sparked a #MeToo movement reckoning in Greece.

READ: Sofia Bekatorou prepares to give deposition on Wednesday over sex abuse allegation.

People have come forward to accuse well-known figures in the entertainment industry of sexual harassment, assault and rape. Well-known actors and directors have come under fire, but Lignadis is the first to be arrested.

in this Tuesday, January 21, 2020, file photo, Dimitris Lignadis, actor and director, attends a news conference in Athens. Photo: Dimitris Kapadais/InTime News via AP, File.

The case has taken on political dimensions. The political opposition accused the Greek government of failing to follow up on complaints, while the Culture Minister, Lina Mendoni, responded on Friday by accusing Lignadis of being a “dangerous man” who had “deceived” her with his acting ability.

Ms Mendoni said she asked a Supreme Court prosecutor to investigate all abuse allegations in Greece’s theater community.

READ MORE: Greece’s #MeToo movement: Sailing coach arrested for raping 11-year-old athlete.

Source: AP News.

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