Cyprus Mail
Cyprus

Ex-bishop’s accuser wants the ‘truth out’

File photo: Larnaca court

The woman who accused former Bishop of Kition, Chrysostomos, of indecently assaulting her said she was in court to “get the truth out”, during her cross-examination by the lawyer for the defence on Tuesday.

The alleged offence was committed in 1981, when the woman was just 16. The 84-year-old former bishop pleaded ‘not guilty’ to the charge.

During the second consecutive day of the hearing, the woman, now 57, was cross-examined by the defence lawyer Michalis Pikis, who asked her numerous questions about the five meetings she had with the defendant.

The meetings had taken place after her family urged her to visit the bishop and receive the financial aid of 200 pounds given to orphans after the death of her father.

She told the court, “what I experienced only I know well,” and pointed out that she swore on the bible prior to her testimony.

Pikis put to her that she was lying, and she said: “I didn’t come to put on an act. I experienced everything that happened and it is the most humiliating thing.”

The plaintiff described as a “gift from God” the recent #MeToo movement that urged many women to come forward and report their attackers- even after many years had passed. She was responding after the defence counsel said the woman could have spoken out sooner.

“My aim was to get the truth out,” the woman repeated throughout her cross-examination.

But Pikis said the position of the former bishop was that whatever the complainant alleged did not take place and that he will also testify under oath before the court.

Chrysostomos must have dementia, the woman responded with Pikis hitting back saying he never said his client has dementia.

Last summer the former bishop’s defence lawyers had argued he did not have the mental capacity to follow legal proceedings, but the Larnaca criminal court ruled that he was mentally fit to follow proceedings.

The court set June 21, 22 and 23, for the continuation of the hearing with the testimony of other witnesses, including the complainant’s mother and sister.

Just like on Monday, women’s group Pogo was present outside the court with banners in support of the 57-year-old woman.

During her testimony the previous day, the plaintiff read out a written statement she had given in March 2021, crying, as she detailed the events leading up to and including the alleged assault.

During her first visit, she alleged, the bishop sat down next to her on the sofa and began touching her hands. He allegedly assaulted her on her fifth visit during which the bishop shoved her, pressed himself on top of her and kissed her on the lips. She began repeatedly screaming “let me out”, at which point she claimed the bishop got off her and opened the door.

She said that she came forward with her accusations against Chrysostomos after seeing on television that another woman had spoken out.

Last October, the bishop was acquitted of charges of rape by Larnaca Criminal Court, which found the plaintiff’s testimony was unreliable.

“I feel vindicated. Justice has prevailed,” Chrysostomos had told the Cyprus News Agency at the time.

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