German Producer Dieter Wedel Indicted on Suspicion of Rape 

Dieter Wedel
Getty

Wedel, one of Germany's most successful television directors, is accused of sexually assaulting a German actress in 1996. 

Dieter Wedel, one of Germany's most successful television directors, has been indicted on suspicion of rape connected to allegations dating back to 1996.

The public prosecutor's office in Munich brought the indictment before the 10th criminal chamber of the Munich I district court on Friday. It is the result of a three-year criminal investigation triggered by a report in the German newspaper Die Zeit in which three actresses accused Wedel of assault. 

Wedel, now retired, is one of Germany's most well-known and successful television directors, with local-language hits including The King of St. Pauli (1997) and The Semmeling Affair (2001). He was the first major figure in the German entertainment industry to face sexual harassment allegations in the wake of the #MeToo movement. 

In the Die Zeit article, the actresses detailed what they claim were three separate assaults that took place between 1991 and 1996. The criminal investigation focused on the allegations from actress Jany Tempel from 1996, for which the statute of limitations has not yet expired.

Tempel said she met Wedel at his hotel room in Munich for what she had been told was a casting session. When she arrived, the director emerged wearing a bathroom. "He grabbed me violently and pushed me against the wall,” the actress told Die Zeit. Tempel said she asked Wedel to stop but he threw her on the bed and forced her to have sex with him.

Internal investigations by Wedel's former employers, including public broadcaster ZDF and German production studio Bavaria, found no evidence to support the abuse and harassment claims. Bavaria, however, said it did find evidence that Wedel's behavior on set, which included angry outbursts towards female employees, would be intolerable according to the company's current code of conduct.