French prosecutors said Wednesday they had opened an inquiry after actor Judith Godreche filed a complaint against film director Benoit Jacquot, accusing him of raping her in a relationship that began when she was 14 and he was 25 years her senior.
Jacquot, one of France's most prominent directors, denied the accusations in comments to the Le Monde newspaper, which also interviewed Godreche. He declined to comment further when contacted by AFP.
On Tuesday, 51-year-old Godreche lodged a formal complaint with the police's Juvenile Protection Brigade (BPM) of alleged rape of a minor by a person in a position of authority, her lawyer Laure Heinich told AFP.
On Wednesday, the Paris prosecutor's office told AFP that a preliminary investigation had been opened, with the BPM in charge of the case.
The announcement comes as French cinema is reeling from claims that the world of arts has shrugged off sexism and sexual abuse for decades.
Godreche in January on social media accused Jacquot, now 77, of manipulating her into a relationship as a vulnerable underage actor.
The crime is punishable by 20 years' imprisonment, though the statute of limitations has "probably" expired in the case, Le Monde said.
In 2015, he described his work as "pushing an actress to pass a threshold".
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