Greek Sailing Coach in Landmark Rape Trial Pleads Not Guilty

A Greek sailing coach pleaded not guilty to raping an11-year-old athlete as the landmark trial opened in Athens on Jan. 12, following Greece’s #MeToo movement.

Coach Triantafyllos Apostolou, 38, defended his relationship with the athlete, who was aged 11 at the time, claiming it was consensual.

The age of consent in Greece is 15.

“It happened several times. Would you consider it rape when it happened many times?” Apostolou told the court nearly 12 years after the alleged rape took place.

Apostolou further told the court that he and the athlete planned to get married with her family’s knowledge.

However, prosecutors argued that Apostolou “used sexual but also psychological violence against the minor so that she would not reveal her rape to her parents.”

The plaintiff, who is currently 21 years old and a prominent member of the Greek national sailing team, told Greek television that Apostolou “systematically raped” and “physically and verbally abused” her.

“It took me 10 years to understand that a child cannot be to blame,” the plaintiff told ANT1 TV.

The three judges presiding the case authorized the plaintiff to testify behind closed doors when the court resumes on Jan. 26.

The trial is expected to last several weeks.

The plaintiff brought the case to the court after former Olympic champion Sofia Bekatorou came forward with her own sexual abuse story, effectively launching the #MeToo movement in Greece.

Bekatorou, a gold medalist at the 2004 Athens Olympics, said that a senior federation official sexually abused her after the trial for the 2000 Sydney Olympics when she was just 21 years old.

Bekatorou’s allegations of abuse date back to over 20 years ago, which meant that she cannot bring them to court as it falls outside the statute of limitations in Greece.

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