French actor Gerard Depardieu charged with rape
French actor Gerard Depardieu has been charged for the alleged rape and sexual assault of a 22-year-old actress at his Paris mansion in 2018, it was reported on Tuesday. The Paris public prosecutor’s office opened a preliminary investigation in the summer of 2018 into the allegations against Depardieu but it was subsequently dropped for lack of evidence. The inquiry resumed last summer and Depardieu, 72, was charged in December, a judicial source told AFP on Tuesday. Depardieu, France’s most famous actor, is the latest high-profile figure to be charged for rape as movements against sexual abuse pick up pace in the country. The woman, a 22-year-old actress and dancer according to French media, accuses him of raping and assaulting her several times at his Paris mansion. She filed the complaint at a gendarmerie in Lambesc near Aix-en-Provence, southern France. Depardieu’s lawyer, Herve Temime, told AFP that the actor, who is free but under judicial supervision, “completely rejects the accusations”. He could not immediately be reached for comment. She reportedly claimed the events took place at the screen icon’s “hôtel particulier” – town mansion – in Paris’ central 6th arrondissement on August 7 and 13. According to a source close to the investigation, Depardieu is friends with the young woman’s father and had “taken her under his wing”, giving her tips on how to start her acting career. She studied in a school where he gave lessons. According to her agent, the actress has been “destroyed” by the saga. She reportedly alleged that he abused her during an “informal rehearsal” for a play. Her lawyer was not available for comment. Depardieu has appeared in around 170 films, including Jean de Florette, Green Card and Astérix et Obélix. He has had run-ins with the law in the past regarding drink driving. The charges come in the wake of a string of sexual abuse accusations against high-profile figures in France, including politicians, actors and intellectuals. Last week, a former French minister was sentenced and imprisoned for gang rape and sexual assault on an employee for the first time in modern French history. The past few months have seen the emergence of #MeTooInceste, #MeTooGay, under which survivors told their stories of abuse as children and gay people, respectively. Dozens of female students at prestigious French university Sciences Po have also shared stories of harassment, assault and rape under the hashtag #SciencesPorcs. A host of allegations were triggered by the publication of a book at the start of the year, La Familia Grande, in which author Camille Kouchner accused a top political expert and commentator, Olivier Duhamel, of sexually abusing a relative when he was a minor. Science Po director, Frédéric Mion, resigned over criticism of his handling of the scandal after it emerged he had been informed of the accusations against Mr Duhamel, a former head of the organisation that runs the university, in 2018. An investigation into rape accusations against interior minister Gerald Darmanin has also been reopened.