French director gets sex misconduct charge on actress claim

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FILE – In this May 18, 2016 actress Adele Haenel poses for photographers during a photo call for the film La Fille Inconnue (The Unkown Girl) at the 69th international film festival, Cannes, southern France. The Paris prosecutor’s office is investigating French director Christophe Ruggia for alleged “sexual aggressions” after French actress Adele Haenel accused him of sexually harassing her when she was an adolescent. (AP Photo/Lionel Cironneau, File)

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PARIS (AP) — A French filmmaker has been charged over the alleged sexual assault of an actress when she was 15.

Director Christophe Ruggia received the preliminary charge Thursday of assault of a minor by a person in authority, the Paris prosecutor’s office said.

Ruggia had been detained Tuesday for questioning about allegations last year made by actress Adele Haenel concerning events in the early 2000s.

Ruggia, who denies the claims, was placed under judicial control, meaning he was freed but must regularly report to officials. Preliminary charges can be thrown out at the end of the judicial investigation.

Haenel, now 31 and an accomplished actress, says the director repeatedly touched her inappropriately during and after filming of the the movie “Les Diables” in the early 2000s. She told French media that she didn’t file a legal complaint because she didn’t trust the French legal system.

The investigation is unusual in France, which hasn’t seen a wave of accusations of sexual misconduct by men in positions of power like the #MeToo movement that shook Hollywood and U.S. politics.

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