ATHENS — The Greek police on Saturday night arrested the previous creative director of the nation’s prestigious National Theater, who has been the goal of accusations of sexual abuse and harassment which have buffeted the Greek arts world over the previous weeks.

Dimitris Lignadis turned himself in on the Athens police headquarters shortly after being knowledgeable {that a} warrant had been issued for his arrest on rape fees, his lawyer, Nikos Georgouleas, mentioned in a textual content message. Speaking later outdoors police headquarters, the place his shopper was being held, Mr. Georgouleas mentioned his shopper denied the fees.

“Everything that is being heard, he denies,” the lawyer mentioned.

Mr. Lignadis is essentially the most high-profile among the many quite a few administrators and actors to have been named in a torrent of accusations which have rocked the Greek arts world. And the fees in opposition to him are among the many most severe. He resigned from his submit on the National Theater earlier this month after experiences emerged suggesting that he had sexually harassed younger actors, which he furiously denied. After his resignation, extra experiences emerged, alleging extra severe abuse.

Credit…Efi Skaza/Eurokinissi, by way of Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

The upheaval in Greece’s arts world has come after an Olympic sailor, Sofia Bekatorou, accused a prime crusing official final month of sexually abusing her in 1998. Her fees represented the primary high-profile accusation of sexual assault and abuse of energy in Greece for the reason that #MeToo motion swept the world, bringing down highly effective figures in sports activities, the media and past.

On Friday, Greece’s tradition minister, Lina Mendoni, mentioned she had asked the nation’s Supreme Court to research a barrage of accusations of sexual assault, primarily these involving the abuse of minors.

In her remarks, Ms. Mendoni underlined the necessity for “catharsis” in Greece’s cultural sector and mentioned that sexual abuse, significantly in opposition to minors, should not go unpunished.

The unfolding scandal has fueled a vehement political battle in Greece. Ms. Mendoni’s detractors blame her for appointing Mr. Lignadis to the National Theater in 2019. Defending her ministry’s actions, Ms Mendoni mentioned that neither she nor the nation’s prime minister, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, had recognized Mr Lignadis “personally,” and knew him solely as an actor.

“Mr Lignadis is a dangerous man, but that has emerged now,” the minister mentioned. She mentioned she felt “deceived” by him.

“With deep acting talent he tried to convince us that he had nothing to do with all this,” Ms Mendoni mentioned, referring to the accusations of abuse.

Mr. Mitsotakis, the prime minister, additionally referred to the mounting quantity of accusations of sexual abuse and harassment within the Greek performing arts throughout a televised assembly with President Katerina Sakellaropoulou on Friday.

“The sexual abuse of minors is the most abhorrent version of this phenomenon,” Mr. Mitsotakis mentioned on the assembly. “In the public dialogue that has fortunately begun we must achieve the greatest possible political and social consensus if we are to tackle the problem,” he mentioned.

Greek prosecutors are anticipated to start summoning witnesses subsequent week for his or her broader inquiry into allegations of abuse and harassment within the Greek arts world, beginning with the pinnacle of the nation’s actors’ union, Spyros Bibilas, who mentioned the union has been deluged with complaints by actors reporting alleged abuse.

In an announcement issued after Mr Lignadis’ arrest on Saturday, Greece’s Justice Ministry mentioned that judicial authorities “will do whatever is necessary in order to ensure everything comes to light on this very shady case and for justice to be done.”



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