French prosecutors charge filmmaker Ruggia with sexual assault of minor

FILE PHOTO: 72nd Cannes Film Festival – News conference for the film “Portrait of a Lady on Fire” (Portrait de la jeune fille en feu) in competition – Cannes, France, May 20, 2019. Cast member Adele Haenel attends the news conference. REUTERS/Jean-Paul Pelissier/File Photo

PARIS (Reuters) – French film director Christophe Ruggia has been charged with sexual assault of a minor, Paris prosecutors said on Thursday, in a case involving a girl cast in one of his films nearly two decades ago.

Prosecutors also said Ruggia was placed under judicial supervision.

Jean-Pierre Versini-Campinchi, a lawyer for Ruggia, said the filmmaker denied any misconduct.

Actress Adele Haenel, who is now 31, has alleged that Ruggia assaulted and harassed her between 2001 and 2004 after she was cast in a Ruggia-directed movie called “Les Diables,” or The Devils.

According to Haenel’s allegations, published in French media outlet Mediapart in November last year, she was first harassed when she was 12 years old and the abuse continued until she was 15.

The Paris prosecutor’s office opened a preliminary probe in November into “sexual assault of a minor under 15 by a person of authority, and sexual harassment”.

Reporting by Sophie Louet and Matthieu Protard; Editing by Frances Kerry

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