PARIS – Paris prosecutors 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 in custody when the preliminary charges were delivered on December 16.
The prosecution addressed the charges after the case was leaked to the French media.
French media reports said the charges relate to allegations made by an actress in her 20s since 2018. An initial investigation against the star was dropped in 2019 due to lack of evidence, but was later revived.
French newspaper Le Parisien and BFM TV station said the woman alleged Depardieu assaulted her on August 7 and 13, 2018, at her home in Paris. The two met when Depardieu led a master class at their school, BFM TV reported.
The actress, who has not been identified, first filed a complaint with details of an alleged rape and assault in August 2018 in the city of Aix-en-Provence, in the south of France. Investigators in Paris took over the investigation, but it was soon abandoned.
Depardieu’s lawyer, Hervé Temime, was not immediately available for comment, but previously said that the actor “absolutely denies any rape, sexual assault, crime.”
Depardieu, 72, is among the best known and most controversial stars in France.
He has appeared in 200 films over six decades and is one of the few French actors to make a name for himself in Hollywood. He won a Golden Globe for his performance in “Green Card,” a 1990 English romantic comedy co-starring Andie MacDowell.
His first big hit in France was “Les Valseuses” (“Going Places”), Bertrand Blier’s classic farce about two roving thugs.
Before crossing the Atlantic to star in “Green Card,” Depardieu played a variety of roles, from Jean Valjean, the thief-turned-saint in “Les Miserables,” to Christopher Columbus.
In 2014, he played the lead 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 employee.