French police on Monday questioned a film director accused by star actress Adele Haenel of assaulting her while she was an underage teenager, prosecutors said Tuesday, in a case that has rocked the French cinema industry.
Ruggia initially responded by denying any wrongdoing, but has since asked Haenel to forgive him for his conduct.
Christophe Ruggia was detained by investigators on accusations of sexual assault and harassment of a minor by a person in authority, a source in the Paris prosecutors office told AFP, confirming a report by LCI television.
According to Haenel's accusations, which were published in the French media outlet Mediapart in November past year (2019), she was harassed and then abused while working on "Les Diables", or "The Devils", in which she played Chloe, an autistic.
Twice victor of the César Award Adele Haenel, who is now 31 years old, allegedly Ruggia assaulted her and harassed her since she was 12, when she was chosen in her film "Les Diables", until she was 15 years old.
However, prosecutors opened an investigation of their own accord and Haenel eventually did file a complaint.
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. More recently, prominent media figure Gabriel Matzneff was accused by publisher Vanessa Springora of grooming her for a sexual relationship when she was a minor. Actress Catherine Deneuve put her name, with 99 other French women, to a 2018 letter saying the #MeToo campaign amounted to "Puritanism" and that men had the right to "pester" women.