May 7, 2011

Australian-Greek Cult Leader Jailed For 15 Years

A self-styled Greek Orthodox "holy man" has been jailed in Australia for 15 years after he was found guilty of tricking two women into having sex with him by claiming it would lift black magic curses placed on their families.

Bonnie Malkin
May 6, 2011
The Telegraph

Tony Golossian, 63, was considered to have special spiritual powers, including the ability to talk to angels, by some members of Sydney's Greek community.

But in his trial last year a court heard that he used his respected position in the community to "brainwash" two women, repeatedly raping them during "prayer sessions" over the course of seven years and telling them that if they resisted one of their family members would fall ill or die.

During the rapes, which his co-accused Arthur Psichogios also took part, he would blindfold the women and tell them that they were dreaming.

Despite maintaining his innocence throughout the trial, Golossian, 63, was found guilty of 24 charges relating to rape of the two women in December and was on Friday sentenced to a minimum of 15 years. Psichogios, 41, was jailed for at least 12 years and his wife Frances Psichogios, 38, who was convicted over the drugging and assault of one victim, was sent to prison for five years.

After a highly-charged trial, during which the officer in charge of the case was allegedly attacked by a relative of one of the defendants, riot police were stationed outside the court for the sentencing.

Judge Penelope Hock said the men had carried out a calculated plan to take advantage of the women's vulnerability, causing them both "substantial" harm, the Australian Associated Press reported.

"I am continually haunted by what has happened and what seems like a never-ending nightmare," one of the women said in her victim impact statement.

The other said: "Bit by bit, day by day, month by month, year by year, they chipped away at my soul and broke me down."

While the prosecution called for the strongest sentence available, Golossian's lawyer argued that the offences were below "the mid-line of seriousness".