French court dismisses rape allegations against Luc Besson

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Paris, Feb 26 (IANS) A court here has dismissed rape allegations against French director Luc Besson for lack of evidence after a nine-month investigation.

The preliminary investigation was launched last May after Dutch-Belgian actress Sand Van Roy filed a report accusing Besson of raping her in a Paris hotel room.

The French prosecutor’s office said in a statement to variety.com that the allegations were dismissed because the police investigation did not yield proof of the offence.

Besson was questioned by police once, on October 2, 2018, and was brought before Van Roy as part of the investigation on December 11, 2018.

Besson has consistently denied Van Roy’s allegations.

In a statement, his lawyers said that Besson learned with “satisfaction” of the prosecutor’s decision to dismiss the case. The statement also said the director regrets that some people had “hastily condemned him and thanks the ones whose constant support allowed him to face these difficult months”.

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Van Roy, who had a small part in “Valerian and the City of Thousand Planets”, filed two complaints accusing Besson of sexual assault.

The first was filed on May 18, 2018, and said that she and Besson had an abusive affair which began on the shoot of “Valerian” and culminated in a rape on the night of May 17 at a hotel here. The second complaint, filed on July 6, 2018, accused Besson of repeated violent sexual relations between March 2016 and May 2018.

Besides Van Roy, eight other women, two former assistants, two casting directors, two students, an actress and a former model who aspired to become an actress, Karine Isambert, came forward to French investigative website Mediapart with allegations of sexual misconduct and assaults by Besson.

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The eight women included an Los Angeles-based actress in her 40s who wrote a letter to the French prosecutor on February 13 to report an alleged assault that occurred in the early 2000s. The actress, whose identity has not been publicly disclosed, said the incident happened when she visited Besson in his Paris office for a meeting following an audition.

–IANS

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