Actress Helene Darras has accused the French superstar of groping her on a film set

The sexual assault complaint against French actor Gerard Depardieu has been dismissed because it was past the statute of limitations, the public prosecutor’s office in Paris said on Monday. Actress Helene Darras had filed the complaint in September 2023.

Darras told AFP that the decision came as no surprise, and that she had filed a complaint because she “could no longer remain silent.” 

“From now on, if my testimony enables the justice system to make progress on the complaints that are not constrained by time, or if it allows other victims to speak out, or even relaunches the debate about the statue of limitation, all of this will not be in vain,” Darras said. 

Darras claims that Depardieu repeatedly groped her on the set of the film ‘Disco’ back in 2007. A total of 16 women have come forth with accusations of sexual assault against the 75-year-old actor, according to online newspaper Mediapart that published some of the new allegations in April 2023. A separate lawsuit filed by actress Charlotte Arnould is still ongoing, the prosecutors said. 

READ MORE: French artists stand up for Gerard Depardieu

Depardieu has denied any wrongdoing, describing the wave of allegations against him as a “lynching.” More than 50 French celebrities – including actors Pierre Rochard, Vincent Perez, Carole Bouquet, Charlotte Rampling, and singer Carla Bruni – signed an open letter in December urging an end to the “torrent of hatred” against Depardieu. 

President Emmanuel Macron has been criticized by womens’ rights groups and some politicians for praising Depardieu and suggesting that “presumption of innocence” should apply to the actor. 

One of France’s most acclaimed actors, Depardieu has starred in more than 100 films. He received the Cesar – the most prestigious French film award – in 1981 and 1991, and was nominated for an Oscar in 1990.

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