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Lefkaritis gets 12 years for sexual exploitation (update2)

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Paedophile jailed for 12 years
By Constantinos Psillides
WELL-known Larnaca businessman Akis Lefkaritis, 57, was Tuesday sentenced to 12 years in jail by the Larnaca District Court after pleading guilty to charges of sexually exploiting two girls, aged 14 and 15.
A second man involved in the same investigation, Nicos Nicolaou, 35, was sentenced to 10 years in jail.
“Every child is society’s child and we have an obligation to protect them,” the court verdict read.
Sexually abusing a minor carries a maximum sentence of 20 years.
Lefkaritis’ lawyer, Giorgos Georgiou said this was probably the “harshest sentence ever handed down in cases like this” and he will appeal the verdict.
Judge Nicolaos Santis said the two men should have opted to protect the girls instead of taking advantage of them since both have children of their own.
“They considered them easy targets, due to their dire financial and social situation along with the fact that one of them was addicted to drugs. Without hesitation, they took advantage of them to satisfy their condemnable and ungodly purposes, with Lefkaritis doing so repeatedly and over a long period of time,” the judge said.
Lefkaritis only last week admitted before court that he had sexual relations with the victims 18 times over a period of one year, from March 2013 to April 2014.
“It didn’t even cross their minds that everyone’s children are society’s children and for that reason the EU and the rest of the world tries to protect them from sexual abuse, especially those coming from troubled backgrounds, as it was with the case brought before us,” Santis added.
The court also took into consideration the fact that Lefkaritis had sexual relations with the girls without using protection, which endangered them further.
The judge said Lefkaritis had had sex with them both at the same time and wasn’t even put off when the girls were menstruating.
According to the verdict, the court considered the defendants’ family situation, the fact that they pled guilty – thus sparing the girls from reliving events in a trial – the absence of a previous criminal record, their collaboration with authorities that led to the speedy conclusion of the investigation as well as health problems.
The court also considered “their sincere remorse and the fact that they apologised to the victims, the victims’ families, society, the court and their own families. Finally, the court considered their public humiliation through the media”.
The court noted that although Lefkaritis didn’t use force for the girls to have sex with him it doesn’t negate the fact that he took advantage of them.
On June 4 Lefkaritis pleaded guilty to four counts of sexually exploiting a minor while Nicolaou pleaded guilty to six charges, including possession and supply of cocaine.
On June 17 Lefkaritis admitted before court to having sex with the girl 18 times between March 2013 to April 2014.
Nicolaou had pleaded guilty to four charges in connection with sexually exploiting a minor between March 2013 and April 2014, and one for corrupting a young woman aged between 13 and 16, an offence that took place on April 27, 2014.
He also admitted to possession of cocaine and supplying a 15-year-old girl on the same date.
The two men were arrested on April 30 after the 15-year-old girl reported to the police that she had been raped and beaten by Nicolaou.
She told police she met the 35-year-old on Facebook and arranged to meet him, only to be kidnapped and taken to his apartment.
The girl claimed she had been beaten and raped by the 35-year-old, while forced to take drugs.
A second girl, 14, came to the man’s apartment and had asked to be paid for sexual services, police were told.
Nicolaou took both girls to an apartment in Larnaca where they were joined by Lefkaritis who also had sex them.
Representing the prosecution, Andreas Aristides said that the sentences were “satisfactory and a clear indication that Legal Services fulfil its duty to the fullest.”
The case received wide media coverage, leading to a bill being introduced to parliament by the government to amend legislation regarding the sexual abuse of minors. The bill, which was put to a plenum vote and passed unanimously last Thursday, provides for stricter penalties, anyone abusing a child under 13 receiving a life sentence while all paedophiles will have to register with a monitoring committee.
While Lefkaritis and Nicolaou were not judged based on the new legislation they will have to register with the monitoring committee and their names will be included in a European sex offenders registry.
The families of both girls are set to file civil suits against both Nicolaou and Lefkaritis.

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