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French film director Benoit Jacquot charged with raping 2 actresses


(From left) French-Austrian actress Julia Roy, French movie director Benoit Jacquot and French actress and director Isild Le Besco

This combination of pictures created on July 3, 2024 shows, from left, French-Austrian actress Julia Roy posing on the red carpet upon arrival for the premiere of the film “Eva” presented in competition during the 68th Berlinale film festival in Berlin on Feb. 17, 2018, in Berlin; French movie director Benoit Jacquot posing at the Paris Opera Bastille on May 22, 2014; and French actress and director Isild Le Besco posing during a rendez-vous on the sidelines of the 67th edition of the Cannes Film Festival in Cannes, southern France, on May 22, 2014. French prosecutors have requested Jacquot be charged with raping actors Le Besco and Roy, the Paris prosecutor’s office told AFP on June 3, 2024, after Jacquot, 77, was held for questioning on June 1, 2024, after actress Judith Godreche filed a complaint against him earlier this year for allegedly raping her during a relationship that started when she was a minor, and other women then made similar allegations. FRANCOIS GUILLOT, STEFANIE LOOS, LOIC VENANCE / AFP

PARIS — A magistrate charged prominent film director Benoit Jacquot on Wednesday, July 3, for allegedly raping actresses Julia Roy and Isild Le Besco, prosecutors said, in a high-profile MeToo case that has rocked France.

The charges come after a flurry of allegations against several men in the French filmmaking industry, which critics say has too long provided cover for abuse.

Jacquot, 77, and another filmmaker, 80-year-old Jacques Doillon, were detained for questioning on Monday over alleged sexual abuse of much younger actresses who starred in their films, charges both have denied.

Investigators opened a probe after Judith Godreche, 52, earlier this year filed a complaint against Jacquot for allegedly raping her during a relationship of several years that started in the 1980s, when she was 14 and he was 25 years her senior.

After two days of questioning, prosecutors did not request charges linked to Godreche’s accusations because they were past the statute of limitations, she and her lawyer said.

But they did in the case of Roy, 34, and Le Besco, 41.

Roy, who acted in four of Jacquot’s films that came out between 2016 and 2021, had accused Jacquot of sexual assault.

Le Besco had accused him of rape during a toxic relationship that began when she was a minor and he was 52.

An examining magistrate charged Jacquot with “marital rape” of Roy during a relationship in 2013, the Paris prosecutor’s office said.

They also charged him with “rape of a minor” against Le Besco between November 1, 1998, and November 21, 2000, the Paris prosecutor’s office said.

She would have been 15 at the start of this period.

‘Judicial cancellation’

Jacquot was also to be investigated over the alleged marital rape of Roy between 2014 and 2018 and Le Besco in 2007, the prosecutor’s office said.

He will be released from custody but remain under judicial supervision, preventing him from getting in touch with plaintiffs and witnesses, or carrying out any activity “linked to minors,” it added. He could not work as a film director or make public appearances as such.

His lawyer Julia Minkowski said she would appeal the decision.

“More than a professional ban, it is a real measure of judicial cancellation, on the basis of an embryonic investigation and before any judgment,” she said.

A source close to the case said Jacquot has answered the questions of investigators but denied all charges.

Roy’s lawyer, Margot Pugliese, said the charges against Jacquot were “important” for her client, whose state of post-traumatic stress she described as “profound.”

Le Besco’s attorney, Benjamin Chouai, said he was happy “the judiciary had got the exact measure of the criminal acts” suspected.

Another director released

The other director, 80-year-old Doillon, was released on Tuesday evening “for medical reasons,” the prosecutor’s office said, adding it still had to decide on follow-up measures.

This came despite mounting accusations against him.

Godreche had accused Doillon of sexually assaulting her during a film shoot when she was 15, when the filmmaker was in a relationship with British actress and singer Jane Birkin.

Le Besco had claimed he made advances during work sessions, and another actress, Anna Mouglalis, 46, alleged the filmmaker forcefully kissed her in 2011.

Lawyer Laure Heinich, who has been representing Godreche, told AFP she had also filed a complaint against Doillon on behalf of a non-binary trans person identified as Joe Rohanne for three alleged rapes, as well as physical and psychological abuse.

Newspaper Le Monde reported that complaint as well as that of two other women against Jacquot, accusing him of rape and attempted rape respectively.

Doillon’s attorney declined to comment.

‘Heard’

Godreche said on Instagram that she felt “heard” after prosecutors sought charges against Jacquot, even though her own case did not yield any.

Godreche has become a leading voice in France’s MeToo movement since she spoke out.

After she appealed for a cinema oversight body, French lawmakers in May voted to create a commission to investigate sexual and gender-based violence in the cultural sectors.

Rare cases have advanced through the judicial system.

The head of France’s top cinema institution, Dominique Boutonnat, stepped down on Friday and will serve a one-year jail term at home after he was convicted of sexually assaulting his godson in 2020.



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And screen icon Gerard Depardieu, 75, is to stand trial in October over accusations of sexually assaulting two women. He was also charged in 2020 with rape two years earlier. He denies all charges.



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