Greek former sailing coach arrested for sexual abuse

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ATHENS, Jan. 24 (Xinhua) -- A Greek former sailing coach was arrested on charges of sexual abuse of a junior athlete in the period 2010-2013, Greek police announced on Sunday.

An Athens prosecutor issued the arrest warrant against the alleged perpetrator after receiving testimonies from the now 21-year-old female athlete and her family, and the man was arrested on Samos island where he currently resides, Greek daily Proto Thema reported.

A few hours earlier he had given an interview to the same newspaper, revealing his identity and claiming that it was not a case of rape, but "consensual sex" with the underage girl.

Triantafyllos Apostolou, 38, claimed that the girl was not 11, but 13 at the time the "relationship" started with the "blessing" of her mother. He intended to marry the girl at 16, he said.

The case was first revealed earlier this week by Greek Olympic sailing champion Sofia Bekatorou, 43, who was contacted by the young athlete after publicly revealing a few days ago that she had fallen victim to sexual harassment by an official of the Hellenic Sailing Federation in 1998 while training for the Sydney Olympics.

The revelation of the athlete, who had won a gold medal in the 2004 Olympics and a bronze in the 2008 Olympics, shocked Greek society and sparked a wave of support, as well as similar revelations by other athletes, university students, actresses and women from many professions.

Bekatorou was lauded for her courage to speak out by Greek President Katerina Sakellaropoulou and Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis.

She testified to the prosecutor on Wednesday, while the government and sports authorities pledged to look thoroughly into the allegations and clean up Greece's sporting community.

Aristidis Adamopoulos, vice-president of the Hellenic Sailing Federation, who she named as her attacker, was forced to resign from his post last week, although he denied the accusations in a press statement.

In addition, the government and private donors suspended funding to the Hellenic Sailing Federation which announced snap elections for a new board of directors in a few weeks. Enditem

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