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Five Armenian Weightlifters Arrested, Charges Dropped

July 25, 1996

ATLANTA (AP) _ Five Armenian weightlifters, including a 1992 Olympic gold medalist, were arrested early today after trying to force their way into a building to meet a woman apparently working as a prostitute, police said.

The charges later were dropped.

Police spokeswoman Marion Lee said the five men apparently gave a woman $100 and she gave them an address where she would meet them. Atlanta Police Chief Beverly Harvard called the woman ``possibly a prostitute.″

When the men got there, the door was locked and they tried to force their way in, police said. The men were arrested, but were released when the woman refused to press charges.

Olympic officials escorted the five back to the Olympic Village about 7 a.m., Ms. Lee said.

The athletes were identified as Hovhannes Barseghyan, Aghasi Manukyan, Khachatur Kyapanaktysa, Isolok Yeghishyan and Israyel Militosyan.

Militosyan won the gold medal in the lightweight class at the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona. He was a silver medalist at the 1988 Seoul Games, and world champion in 1989 and 1992.

Bob Brennan, spokesman for the Atlanta Committee for the Olympic Games, gave the following account of the incident.

``The weightlifters were discussing some sort of business transaction with a woman,″ he said. ``In exchange for the offer of services or something of the kind, the athletes gave her $100. She took off and they pursued her to an apartment. A ruckus followed. The police were called and the five were arrested.

``They were brought to night court. The person did not appear to press charges. The charges were dismissed.″

In another incident, Brennan said an unidentified Tunisian boxer was detained after fondling a female tram driver. The case was dropped after the woman declined to press charges.

Also, several Spanish athletes were questioned for urinating in public in the Olympic village, according to Gary McConnell, director of the state law enforcement command. He said the athletes were not charged.

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