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06 December, 2021
 
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Former bishop acquitted of rape charges

Larnaca court says female accuser made several contradictory statements and outlandish allegations

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Former Kition bishop Chrysostomos has been acquitted of rape charges after a criminal court found his female accuser made contradictory statements and outlandish allegations during the closed trial.

Local media on Friday said Chrysostomos, who has been accused of rape during an alleged encounter with a woman in 2011, was found not guilty by a panel of judges in Larnaca.

According to reports, the judges found that the accuser “made multiple contradictory statements” during the trial behind closed doors.

While the hearings took place behind closed doors, it emerged the woman had alleged that Chrysostomos offered her an alcoholic beverage before proceeding to rape her.

“The prosecution was based on the plaintiff’s testimony which cannot be accepted, it has been rejected because she made several contradictory statements and outlandish allegations on important key points,” the court said, citing comments she had made including on a TV program.

'The prosecution was based on the plaintiff’s testimony which has been rejected because she made several contradictory statements and outlandish allegations on important key points'

Local media said the bishop appeared to be emotional upon exiting the Larnaca courthouse as a free man.

“Justice prevailed,” Chrysostomos said.

The 83-year-old former bishop, whose defense attorney Michalis Pikis previously argued his client was unfit to stand trial, had vehemently rejected the accusations and further stated in court that he had evidence that could exonerate him.

Three other defense witnesses, the former bishop’s accountant and two other staff members, also testified before being cross-examined by the lead prosecutor in the case.

During a summer hearing, the bishop had adopted a written statement drafted by his lawyer as Chrysostomos did not speak due to a recent operation on his vocal chords.

In the unsigned statement, the bishop had refuted all allegations against him and fully adopted his original statements to police.

Not many details were made known about the case but according to reports the woman had alleged that in April 2011 Chrysostomos offered her an alcoholic beverage before proceeding to rape her.

More allegations against the bishop

No minor has been involved with the case but the trial took place behind closed doors, following a decision by a judge panel of the Larnaca-Famagusta Criminal Court citing a need “to protect the woman’s identity.”

In April 2021, another case was filed in a Larnaca Criminal Court against the former bishop, accused of indecent assault by a woman who was 16 at the time of the alleged incident.

Local media said the accuser had told authorities that Chrysostomos pushed her and she fell on the sofa, with the former bishop allegedly lying on top of her and trying to kiss her in the mouth.

According to the complaint, the second incident allegedly took place also at the Holy Diocese of Kition back in November 1981.

Two other women who live abroad reportedly were also ready to fly to the Republic of Cyprus to testify against the former bishop. According to local media, Chrysostomos was not charged over the two alleged incidents but reports said allegations of attempted rape had been made orally in both cases.

TAGS
Cyprus  |  Larnaca  |  Kition bishop  |  Chrysostomos  |  rape  |  trial  |  closed session  |  crime  |  trial

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