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Actor Gerard Depardieu charged with rape and sexual assault

Paris — The Paris prosecutor's office said on Tuesday that French actor Gerard Depardieu was charged in December with rape and sexual assault after authorities revived a 2018 investigation that was initially dropped. The office told The Associated Press that Depardieu was not detained when he was handed the preliminary charges on December 16.

Gerard Depardieu Portrait Session
Actor Gerard Depardieu poses at the Paris Book Fair 2018, at Parc Des Expositions Porte de Versailles, France, March 18, 2018. Eric Fougere/Corbis/Getty

The prosecutor's office addressed the charges after the case was leaked to French media.
 
French media reports said the charges relate to allegations made by an actress in her 20s that date back to 2018. An initial inquiry against the star was dropped in 2019 because of lack of evidence, but was later revived.
 
French newspaper Le Parisien and broadcaster BFM TV said the woman alleged that Depardieu assaulted her on August 7 and August 13, 2018 at his home in Paris. The two met when Depardieu led a master class at her school, BFM TV reported.
 
The actress, who has not been named, first filed a complaint with details of alleged rape and assault in August 2018 in the southern French city of Aix-en-Provence. The probe was taken over by Paris investigators, but was soon dropped.
 
Depardieu's lawyer Hervé Temime was not immediately available for comment, but he has previously said that the actor "absolutely denies any rape, any sexual assault, any crime."
 
Depardieu, 72, is among France's most well-known and controversial stars.

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French actor Gerard Depardieu, left, and Belgian actress Cecile de France pose during a photo call for the film "Quand J'etais Chanteur" ("The Singer") at the 59th International Film Festival in Cannes, France, May 26, 2006. AP/Francois Mori

He has appeared in 200 films over six decades and is among a few French actors who have made a name for themselves in Hollywood. He won a Golden Globe for his performance in "Green Card," a 1990 English-language romantic comedy co-starring Andie MacDowell. 

His first big hit in France was "Les Valseuses," ("Going Places"), Bertrand Blier's classic farce about two wandering thugs.
 
Before crossing the Atlantic to star in "Green Card," Depardieu played an array of roles, ranging from Jean Valjean, the thief-turned-saint in "Les Miserables," to Christopher Columbus.
 
In 2014, he played the leading role in "Welcome to New York," the film inspired by the life of Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the former director of the International Monetary Fund who was accused in 2011 of sexually assaulting a hotel maid.

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