Priest convicted on sex assault charge

Author: Olivia Hill-Douglas
Date Published: 08/03/2002
Publication: The Age (Australia)

A Greek Orthodox priest who indecently assaulted a 17-year-old parishioner confessed to his congregation during a ceremony for Greek Easter, a Melbourne court was told yesterday.

Andreas Papadimitropoulos, 55, was sentenced in the Melbourne Magistrates Court to two months’ jail after pleading guilty to one count of indecent assault. The jail term was wholly suspended. During the sentencing, magistrate Peter Lauritsen said that he could “not imagine a greater betrayal of trust from a priest”.

The court heard that on April 25 this year, Papadimitropoulos had been with a 17-year-old girl from his parish, and had kissed her, licked her neck and touched her breast through her clothing.

The young woman asked him to stop and the priest then asked her not to tell anyone what had happened, the court was told.

Papadimitropoulos wrote to the victim one week after the incident expressing sorrow and regret over what had happened.

Then at a Greek Easter ceremony at his Malvern church in early May, Papadimitropoulos announced to the crowded congregation that he had misbehaved with a parishioner and had embarrassed the person involved.

“This is a significant indication of the defendant taking responsibility for his actions,” Mr. Lauritsen said.

Papadimitropoulos has also been stopped from hearing confessions by his superior, a restriction that would be a constant reminder of what he had done, the court was told.