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Landmark rape trial of Greek sailing coach begins

ATHENS (AFP) – The landmark trial of a Greek sailing coach accused of raping a minor opened in Athens yesterday, a year after an Olympic champion effectively launched the #MeToo movement there by speaking out about her experiences.

The case is one of many that came to light after former Olympic sailing gold medal winner Sofia Bekatorou broke the taboo on speaking out on such matters in December 2020.

Bekatorou, who is a witness at the trial, did not speak to reporters as she arrived at the courthouse yesterday.

Triantafyllos Apostolou, 38, who outed himself in a newspaper interview last year, allegedly raped an 11-year-old athlete in 2010.

Bekatorou has said that she herself had been subjected to “sexual harassment and abuse” by a senior federation member after trials for the 2000 Sydney Olympics. She was 21-years-old at the time.

Her revelations led to other women speaking up about being assaulted, and more than three years after it started in the United States, the #MeToo movement was born in Greece.

Over the past year, allegations of sexual assaults suffered by female athletes, students, journalists and actresses have been pouring in. Some of those speaking out said they were still minors when the assaults happened.

With the consent of the woman concerned, Bekatorou brought it to the attention of prosecutors in January 2021.

The alleged victim said that when she was 11-years-old she had several non-consensual sexual encounters with her coach who is now on trial.

Sofia Bekatorou. PHOTO: AFP
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