Monument of French cinema, Gérard Depardieu was indicted on December 16 for “Rapes” and “Sexual assault”, learned Agence France-Presse (AFP), Tuesday, February 23, from a source close to the file, confirmed by a judicial source.

The complainant, a young actress who denounces several rapes and sexual assaults in August 2018 at the actor’s Parisian home, had obtained in the summer of 2020 that this investigation, first closed in June 2019 by the Paris prosecutor’s office, be entrusted to an examining magistrate.

The actor’s lawyer, Me Hervé Témime, a “Regretted that this information is made public”. Gérard Depardieu, who was left free without judicial review, “Totally disputes the facts with which he is accused”, he said. This new status of indictment gives Gérard Depardieu the possibility of actively defending himself during the proceedings but poses the threat of a possible trial against him.

The actress in her twenties had initially filed a complaint by going to the Lambesc (Bouches-du-Rhône) gendarmerie at the end of August 2018. On the minutes, she accused the actor of two rapes and sexual assaults that allegedly took place in his mansion on 6e arrondissement of Paris, August 7 and 13, 2018.

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Friend of the complainant’s family

According to a source familiar with the matter, the actor is a friend of the victim’s family. “There was absolutely nothing professional about it”, said this source, while the press had mentioned a theater rehearsal. The legal proceedings opened in Aix-en-Provence against the French actor had been repatriated to Paris.

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On June 4, 2019, the public prosecutor, however, dismissed its nine months of preliminary investigation, explaining that “The many investigations carried out” had “Not allowed to characterize the offenses denounced in all their constituent elements”.

A confrontation between the actor and the young actress, never heard of so far, had notably taken place in the premises of the Paris judicial police, added a source close to the file to AFP.

The complainant then obtained, in mid-August 2020, the resumption of the investigation by a complaint with the constitution of civil party, an appeal which allows the almost automatic designation of a judge to restart the investigations. Contacted by AFP, the lawyer for the complainant, Me Elodie Tuaillon-Hibon, asked that “The privacy and privacy of [sa] client are preserved ”.

Read the focus: A White Paper for the prevention of sexual violence in French cinema

Revealed in 1974 in The Valseuses, by Bertrand Blier, winner of a first César for best actor for The Last Metro, by François Truffaut (1980), Gérard Depardieu has interpreted many characters, including most of the great heroes of French literature, from Cyrano de Bergerac to Jean Valjean des Miserable.

Father of four children, including actor Guillaume Depardieu who died in 2008, he has acquired immense international notoriety over the course of his career, despite his outings which have sometimes hit the headlines. In addition to his film career, Gérard Depardieu leads other activities at the same time: winemaker, entrepreneur in gastronomy, he has also led a discreet career as a singer. President Vladimir Putin granted him Russian citizenship in early 2013, and the actor converted to orthodoxy in 2020.

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Gérard Depardieu is not the only French cinema personality caught up in the wave of #metoo, which began in the fall of 2017 with the revelation of the numerous rapes and sexual assaults committed against actresses by the American producer Harvey Weinstein. Directors Christophe Ruggia and Luc Besson or the president of the National Cinema Center, Dominique Boutonnat, have also been accused of sexual assault or rape.

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The World with AFP

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