A 53-year-old man in Greece who allegedly raped a 12-year-old girl on multiple occasions and forced her to perform sexual acts on other men for money has been arrested.
The man, described as a “good and religious family man” by his neighbours and friends owns a mini market store in the suburb of Kolonos where the majority of the alleged crimes were committed.
The girl was a member of an underprivileged family of eight children. Her mother was the only parent working at the store of the alleged abuser, as a cleaner, and the girl would help her on school-free hours and days.
Police arrested the man alongside a 42-year-old client who allegedly was paying to sexually assault the girl last Friday night.
It was reportedly the girl’s aunt who discovered that she was being abused and was forced to offer sex services after she realised the girl was getting extremely anxious whenever she would receive text messages.
According to local media and Alpha TV the aunt took the phone off the girl and told the mother who immediately turned the evidence to police and filed a complaint.
Following reports from state broadcaster ERT, a testimony from the alleged victim has led to police uncovering evidence that shows the man raped the girl under the threat of a weapon inside his store.
It is also alleged that the 53-year-old would also take pictures and film his acts of violence and then upload the material on the internet using a fake profile posing as the 12-year-old seeking clients.
The girl has testified that -to the best of her knowledge- she has been forced into sexual acts with at least 10 men. Some of the men, allegedly told the girl to “be careful, you are too young” after raping her, when they would realise she is 12 and not 16 according to some of her handler’s ads.
A total of 213 men had reportedly responded to his internet posts offering money to rape the girl, as reported by CNN Greece.
The man would allegedly charge 50 to 70 euros per “session” with some meet-ups going for 100 euros, money that according to the 12-year-old she never saw or knew nothing about.
The sex appointments would take place near the metro station of Sepolia in western Athens and the girl would be sexually abused inside the clients’ cars or in rooms the location of which remains unknown to the girl.
The suspect’s name has not been officially made public. However, both his full name and pictures from his official social media account have been circulating on social media by people in the local community who found out about his acts after the police raid at his store.
The man had often posted pictures of himself chanting in church on Facebook, pictures of him hugging members of the clergy and prominent politicians of the conservative spectrum, and many endorsements of actors as he was a benefactor for an organisation that supported the arts.
His neighbours told ERT that they are in shock about the allegations and revelations saying that he was a low profile man and businessman, devoted to the church, a professional chanter during services, “a man that loved animals” and was politically active in the local branch of the conservative party.
“A good, religious, family man,” several people in the neighbourhood said.
The 53-year-old who was reportedly a member of the New Democracy political party, has been dropped by the committee and banned for life.
Speaking to daily newspaper efimerida ton syntakton, government spokesman Giannis Oikonomou admitted that the 53-year-old man was a member of the ruling party. He added that “the man’s membership has been suspended after the revelations. What has been revealed is horrible, appalling. The society is shocked.
“The Police, the justice system make sure that every aspect is clarified, that the mastermind and the accomplices are punished. With the changes of the Criminal Code, the penalties have been tightened. If found guilty and convicted, he could face up to life in prison. He was indeed a member of New Democracy, his status is suspended,” Oikonomou said.
The man was taken before the prosecutor on Monday (Greece time) and has been charged with a string of sexual offences committed between April and August this year.
He has denied all charges saying that it was the girl sending him the videos and pictures with the aim to approach and frame him, Skai TV reported.
During the raid, police found in his possession 2 pistols, 572 cartridges, 21 knives, a bayonet, 2 laptops and a hard disk- all evidence has been confiscated.
The 42-year-old man who posed as a client has also been arrested and charged with sexual crimes involving the minor. In his possession police found 2 USB drives.
The prosecutor granted both men time until Tuesday, for their testimony.
Speaking to Alpha TV, the victim’s mother said in outrage “I will kill him. If something happens and this man is released, because he has important people to cover for him, I will bury him myself”, stressing that she does not seek any money, only justice.
The 12-year-old’s family lawyer stated that police has done “a very good job” and that they have solidly provided evidence for the case conducting a coordinated undercover investigation for a month to prevent the alleged perpetrator from destroying vital evidence for the prosecution.