French Prosecutors Drop Gerard Depardieu Sexual Assault Case Due to Statute of Limitations

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French prosecutors have dismissed a complaint by French actress Hélène Darras claiming she was sexually assaulted by Gérard Depardieu, citing the statute of limitations for the alleged crime.

Darras filed an official complaint against the 75-year-old French star, claiming Depardieu assaulted her on the set of Fabien Onteniente’s film Disco in 2007. Darras made her allegations public in an interview on French TV in December. The interview, combined with raw footage of Depardieu making sexually inappropriate and obscene jokes, triggered a public uproar in France that some have compared to the #MeToo movement that was galvanized by the testimonies of victims of Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein.

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Thirteen women have come forward to accuse Depardieu of sexual assault involving incidents spanning two decades. In February 2021, Depardieu was charged with rape and sexual assault allegedly committed in 2018 against actress Charlotte Arnould. Darras was auditioned as a witness during that ongoing investigation and chose to file a separate complaint last September.

But the Paris Prosecutor’s Office on Monday confirmed media reports that it would be dismissing Darras’ complaint due to the statute of limitations. Depardieu has not been convicted in connection to any of the allegations. He denies any wrongdoing.

The Depardieu allegations have divided the French nation. Industry luminaries including Sophie Marceau and Laure Calamy called out the actor and then Culture Minister Rima Abdul-Malak suggested Depardieu could be stripped of his Legion of Honor medal, the country’s top civilian award.

But others rose to his defense, including French President Emmanuel Macron, who said Depardieu was the victim of a “manhunt.” Several prominent VIPs, among them French singer and former first lady Carla Bruni-Sarkozy and English actress Charlotte Rampling, signed an open letter in support of Depardieu, which described his treatment in the media as a “lynching.”

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