Greek Olympian testifies in landmark sex abuse case

Athens (AFP) –


An Olympian credited with launching a belated #MeToo awakening in Greece is testifying Wednesday on her sex abuse case that has encouraged other women to break decades of silence.

Two-time Games medallist Sofia Bekatorou, 43, said she was 21 when she was subjected to "sexual harassment and abuse" by a senior federation member in his hotel room, shortly after trials for the 2000 Sydney Olympics.

She first spoke to Marie Claire magazine in December before repeating the claim in a state-sponsored teleconference last week.

The sailing federation, which initially called on Bekatorou to supply more details of her allegations before taking action, said in a statement over the weekend that it had "immediately requested the resignation" of its vice-president Aristeidis Adamopoulos.

It said Adamopoulos "is allegedly the person named by our Olympian" in a prior testimony to a prosecutor.

Several other female athletes have stepped forward after Bekatorou's revelation, while nearly a dozen other women have alleged sex harassment by professors at Thessaloniki's Aristotle University, one of the country's top higher learning institutions.

None of those complaints can be prosecuted as they occurred decades earlier.

The Hellenic Olympic Committee and the government is urging other sex abuse victims to speak out.

"It is time to uproot the violence of those in power against anyone in a weak position," Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said in a Facebook post on Saturday.

The HOC has also called for an internal investigation at which Adamopoulos -- who represented Greek sailing on the HOC board -- and Bekatorou are invited to testify.

Adamopoulos, who was also suspended as a member of Greece's ruling New Democracy party, denies any wrongdoing.

The sailing federation, which has been hit with a flurry of resignations and loss of sponsorship, will hold elections in March.

One of Greece's most decorated Olympians, Bekatorou won gold at the 2004 Athens Games and bronze in Beijing four years later.