French director under investigation for sexual assault of a child actress

Christophe Ruggia, 55. [Image credit: IMDB]

Last Tuesday, French director Christophe Ruggia was taken into police custody as a part of an investigation into allegations that he engaged in “sexual aggression against a minor by a person of authority and sexual harassment.”


The investigation was initiated in November of last year after Mediapart conducted an investigation which involved at least 30 witnesses.  According to their findings, crew members spoke of the unhealthy atmosphere on set and Ruggia's "obsession" with the then 12 year old Adele Haenel.


Haenel had previously decided against filing a personal complaint against Ruggia citing how broken the legal system was, even pointing out the "contempt with which the judicial system treats women".


According to the BBC, watching the documentary Leaving Neverland changed her mind.


"It changed my perspective," she said. "It made me see I had too long clung to the version of Christophe Ruggia, that it had all been a story of love… It made me understand the mechanisms of control and fascination."


Several days after an official investigation was opened by authorities into the actions of Ruggia, Haenel filed a personal complaint stating that between the ages of 12 and 15, while working on and then promoting the film Les Diables (The Devils), Ruggia made repeated sexual advances and attempted to grope and kiss her.


The detailed investigation released by Mediapart shocked the French film industry and and resulted in Ruggia's removal from the French Directors' Association, the SRF, where he had served as co-president for several years.  According to the Hollywood Reporter, this was the organization's first time in its 50 year history that it had seen fit to remove one of its members.


Ruggia has repeatedly denied the allegations that he molested Haenel, but has admitted to making "errors" in the past.


"I did not see that my adulation for her, and the hopes I placed in her, might - given her young age - come across at times as irksome. If this is what happened... I ask her pardon,"