Greek community outraged by priest’s beating

November 16th, 2009 by

TARPON SPRINGS (myfoxtampabay) – On the Sponge Docks in Tarpon Springs, the conversation usually revolves around this month’s harvest. Sponges are sorted and readied for sale.

But this week, the talk has centered on something else: the beating of Father Alexios Marakos, a priest visiting from Greece.

Nicholas Karagiannis said everywhere you go, people are talking about it.

“Sure everybody’s talking about it. Everybody’s talking about it. Everybody’s saddened by it,” he said.

Father Marakos said he was lost in downtown Tampa and was asking for directions. He drove into a condo parking garage and went to ask for help.

He was hit repeatedly by Jasen Bruce, a Marine reservist.

But Jasen Bruce said he was the one who was attacked first. Bruce has told police a bearded man in a robe came up to him, speaking a foreign language.

He said the man grabbed his genitals and then made a lewd comment.

Bruce said when he warned the man and told him to leave, the man kept coming at him. So Bruce said he grabbed a tire iron and hit him.

Police are working with the state attorneys’ office to decide if charges of a hate crime will be filed against Bruce. They said Bruce told officers, he was chasing a terrorist and had him pinned down.

Those in Tarpon Springs are outraged.

“It’s an attack on the community, as well as the individual that was attacked physically. People, myself in particular, are at a loss for how to explain it,” said resident Ted Billiris.

Nicholas Toth grew up in Tarpon Springs, and said they all have the same feeling here.

“He’s (Jasen Bruce) trying to play an angle of being sexually assaulted and hold this as a hammer over the Greek church not to pursue this, or he’ll continue to have these outrageous allegations,” Toth said.

Many here want police to release the 911 tapes and surveillance tapes that show the attack.

Athena Tsardoulias, who runs Tarpon Sponge, Inc, said that should clear some of this up.

“You know there had to be more to the story, than what we heard, there just had to be,” he said.

Police have not decided yet if the tapes will be released.

2 Responses

  1. Stupid Monkey

    Can’t wait either. I was thinking the same thing when they mentioned the priest touched him: How easy is it to call a priest a homo or terroist. It has to be one or the other, or neither. If he’s gay why would he randomly choose this dude. Why would a terroist waist his time on one man whom he doesn’t know. Maybe the priest tripped or maybe he doesn’t understand boundaries, of course he would think he’s gay because he walked to close. Something doesn’t seem right with Jason…maybe he’s the one with problems. And why are the police not releasing video and 911 call? How f’n long do we have to wait until the tampa PD mans up. The case has alot of attention so the sooner somebody says they screwed up the faster the case is forgotten.

  2. mike

    this is how we shake hands in my country.i was just asking for erectiuns.

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