SHARE
COPY LINK

CRIME

French actor Gérard Depardieu charged with rape and sexual assault

French film giant Gérard Depardieu has been charged with rape and sexual assault, a judicial source told AFP on Tuesday, the latest in a string of such allegations against prominent figures in France.

French actor Gérard Depardieu charged with rape and sexual assault
Actor Gérard Depardieu. Photo: AFP

Depardieu, one of the most famous actors of his generation, is accused of assaulting and raping an actress in her 20s in 2018.

An initial investigation into the rape accusations against the 72-year old Depardieu was dropped in 2019 for lack of evidence.

But it was reopened last summer, leading to criminal charges being filed in December, the judicial source said.

The actress accuses Depardieu of having raped and assaulted her at his Parisian home on two separate occasions in August 2018.

Depardieu’s lawyer Herve Temime told AFP that the actor, who is free but under judicial supervision, “completely rejects the accusations”.

According to a source close to the case, Depardieu is a friend of the actress’s family.

Some reports have suggested that Depardieu and the actress were rehearsing a scene of a theatre play, but the source said “there was nothing professional about the encounter”.

The woman’s lawyer, Elodie Tuaillon-Hibon, told AFP that she hoped her client’s “private sphere will be respected” as the case unfolds.

Besides long being a superstar in his home country, Depardieu is one of France’s best-known actors abroad.

He won acclaim in French-language films such as “The Last Metro” and “Jean de Florette,” but went on to perform in a range of English-language movies, including the romantic comedy “Green Card” and a film version of “Hamlet”.

But over the course of his career he has often been embroiled in scandals which have hit the headlines.

He is the father of four, including the actor Guillaume Depardieu who died in 2008.

Just over three years since the #MeToo movement broke taboos around rape across the world, France is seeing another outpouring of stories and a wide-ranging debate about sex, power and consent.

READ ALSO Has France’s Me Too moment finally arrived?

Each week has brought new revelations targeting the rich and powerful, with one of the country’s best-known television presenters, Patrick Poivre d’Arvor, becoming the latest to be accused of rape.

And a former French government minister, Georges Tron, last week began serving three years in prison after a court found him guilty of raping an employee during “foot massages” in his office and at the home of his co-defendant.

Member comments

  1. The actress accuses Depardieu of having raped and assaulted her at his Parisian home on two separate occasions in August 2018.
    Why would a victim return to the scene of the crime?

    1. Correct. It does make one think if there is an alternative motive involved. I’ve met this guy a few times, he has a wicked sense of humour and always takes the Michael out of me about my pronunciation of French.

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.

CRIME

French court jails for life sole surviving Paris 2015 attacker

The sole surviving member of an Islamic State terror cell that killed 130 people in Paris in November 2015 was handed a whole-life sentence on Wednesday at the end of a trial that aimed to draw a line under the worst peace-time atrocity in modern French history.

French court jails for life sole surviving Paris 2015 attacker

Salah Abdeslam, a 32-year-old Frenchman of Moroccan origin, was captured alive by police four months after the bloodbath at the Bataclan concert hall and other locations.

His sentence, the toughest possible, was read out by the head of five-judge panel overseeing the trial of 20 men accused of involvement in the assault on the capital.

Wearing a khaki-coloured polo shirt, he stood motionless and showed no emotion as he was declared guilty and sentenced by chief judge Louis Peries during an hour-long speech.

“The sentences are quite heavy,” one tearful survivor, Sophie, told AFP as she left the court in central Paris. “I feel a lot of relief. Ten months of hearings — it’s helped us to rebuild.”

The trial has been the biggest in modern French history, the culmination of a six-year international investigation whose findings run to more than a million pages.

READ MORE: The difficult and emotional search for truth at France’s biggest terrorism trial

The other 19 suspects, accused of either plotting or offering logistical support, were also found guilty, with their sentences ranging from two years to life in prison.

All of the attackers except for Abdeslam blew themselves up or were killed by police during or after the assault.

Hundreds of victims and witnesses packed out the benches of the specially constructed courtroom as the sentences were read out.

“My first reaction is that we have the feeling of turning a page after the verdicts,” Gerard Chemla, a lawyer representing victims at the trial, told reporters.

Change of heart?

Abdeslam had begun his appearances last September by defiantly declaring himself as an “Islamic State fighter” but finished tearfully apologising to victims and asking for leniency.

In his final statement, he urged the judges not to give him a full-life term, seeking to emphasise that he had not killed anyone himself.

“I made mistakes, it’s true. But I’m not a murderer, I’m not a killer,” he said.

His lawyers had also argued against the whole-life sentence, which prosecutors had demanded.

It offers only a small chance of parole after 30 years and has been pronounced only four times previously since being created in 1994.

Abdeslam, a one-time pot-smoking lover of parties, discarded his suicide belt on the night of the attack and fled back to his hometown, Brussels, where many of the extremists lived.

He told the court that he had had a change of heart and decided not to kill people.

“I changed my mind out of humanity, not out of fear,” he insisted.

But after hearing that his suicide belt was defective, the judges concluded that this “cast serious doubt” on his apparent “renunciation”.

They ruled he was a “co-author” of the attacks which “constituted a single crime scene.” 

Trauma

A team of 10 jihadists laid siege to the French capital, attacking the national sports stadium, bars, and the Bataclan in an assault immediately claimed from Syria by the IS group.

The attacks shocked France, with the choice of targets and the manner of the violence seemingly designed to inflict maximum fear, just 10 months after a separate assault on the Charlie Hebdo magazine.

In one instance, the court heard a recording of gunmen taunting people trapped in the Bataclan as they fired on them with Kalashnikov machine guns from a balcony above.

The huge loss of life marked the start of a gruesome and violent period in Europe as IS ramped up attacks across the continent.

France, under then president Francois Hollande, declared the country “at war” with the extremists and their self-proclaimed caliphate in Syria and Iraq.

Hollande, who testified in November, called the trial “exceptional” and “exemplary”, adding in a statement that the accused had been “judged with respect for the law”.

The 10-month process had “enabled us to look for the truth in order to better understand the course of Islamist terrorism”, he said.

Other culprits

In the absence of the rest of the attackers, the men on trial besides Abdeslam were suspected of offering mostly logistical support or plotting other attacks. 

Only 14 out of the 20 appeared in person, with the rest missing, presumed dead.

One of them, Mohamed Abrini, admitted to driving some of the Paris attackers to the capital and explained how he was meant to take part but backed out.

The court handed him a life sentence with 22 years as a minimum term.

Also on trial was Swedish citizen Osama Krayem, who has been identified in a notorious IS video showing a Jordanian pilot being burned alive in a cage.

He was sentenced to 30 years in jail and ordered to serve two thirds of it behind bars, as was fellow jihadist Sofian Ayari, a Tunisian arrested along with Abdeslam in Brussels in March 2015.

The pair were suspected of planning an attack on Amsterdam airport.

All of the convicted are able to appeal their verdicts and sentences.

SHOW COMMENTS