ATHENS — Portuguese defender Rúben Semedo, 27, could be sentenced to life in prison if found guilty of raping a 17-year-old girl in Greece. The player was arrested last Sunday after the teenager accused him of sexual abuse, considered a heinous crime under the law of the country, where he plays for Olympiacos.
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Semedo appeared in court on Tuesday to provide clarification to the judge. According to the Portuguese press, he reported that the relations were consented. On leaving the scene, he told reporters that he was innocent and accused the girl of lying for money. A new hearing is scheduled for next Thursday. Until then, the defender will remain in jail.
‘If I hadn’t been a footballer, none of this would have happened,’ said Semedo as he left the courtroom, a scene captured by Greek broadcasters.
The young woman told authorities that she had been drunk by the player in a bar in the city of Oropo. According to her, Semedo took her to his house, where he allegedly sexually abused the minor. Another man, also detained, would be involved in the case.
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“Because I had consumed a large amount of alcohol, I went to one of the rooms in the house (Rúben Semedo’s) and fell asleep. Shortly after, the second one [o homem de 40 anos] he came in and, taking advantage of my situation, forced me to have sex,” said the young woman according to the portal “Sic Notícias”. “Shortly after leaving, Semedo entered the same room, locked the door and forced me having sex”.
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Semedo’s lawyer, Stavros Georgopoulos, told Greek broadcaster “ANT1” that it was the teenager who sought out the player and that she had sent him a message to meet the following night.
“If I went to someone’s house and they raped me, I’d get out of there right away.” In this case, she remained in the house, they ordered food, smoked shisha and if this complaint had not existed, they would probably still be there. There cannot have been a violation, otherwise she would not have sent a message (to Rúben Semedo) to meet again the following night,” declared the lawyer.
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After his arrest, Olympiacos said in a statement that it values the presumption of innocence and will not comment on the case during criminal investigations.
“Olympiacos fully and unconditionally respects the presumption of innocence of a defendant, which also includes the right to respond to any accusation. Therefore, we will await a decision to be taken under judicial independence,” the club said in a statement.
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Semedo, who played for the Portuguese national team, had already been arrested in 2018, when he was accused of the crimes of attempted murder, injuries, threats, kidnapping, violent robbery and illegal possession of weapons. At the time, he worked for Villarreal, from Spain, where he was detained for five months. The Valencia Court sentenced him to five years in prison, with a suspended sentence.
The footballer was accused by a man who said he was the victim of kidnapping carried out by the player, his cousin and an unidentified third person. The complainant claimed that the trio tied him up at the defender’s house and then went to his apartment to steal “money and other things that could compromise the player”.