The abbot of Aghia Skepi Monastery in Keratea, east of Athens, has been arrested on suspicion of sexually abusing at least 21 novice monks over the last two decades, police said yesterday. The 68-year-old was taken into custody after four men aged 18 to 34 went to a police station in Keratea and told officers that the monk repeatedly abused them between 1988 and 2007 while they were at the monastery. They claimed that the abbot took advantage of the spiritual trust that his novices placed in him. Police said that an initial investigation had indicated that the 68-year-old sexually molested at least 17 other young men. The abbot appeared before a magistrate yesterday but asked for, and was granted, more time to prepare his defense. First instance prosecutor Eleni Raikou gave authorization for the name of the suspect, Eleftherios Anastasopoulos, to be published. Anastasopoulos will not be charged for all the alleged attacks, such as the ones said to have taken place in 1988, due to the statute of limitations.