Christophe Ruggia, French Director of 'The Devils,' Arrested on Sexual Harassment Charges

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Christophe Ruggia

French actress Adèle Haenel last year accused him of sexual harassment.

French filmmaker Christophe Ruggia, 55, was arrested Tuesday on charges of sexual harassment stemming from accusations made by actress Adèle Haenel.

French police said Ruggia was arrested as part of an investigation into "sexual aggression on a minor."

Haenel, now 31, has accused Ruggia of sexual harassment spanning several years and starting back when she was 12 years old and cast to star in the director's second film, The Devils, in 2002. Ruggia, who was 36 at the time, has denied all allegations.

The actress alleges Ruggia began harassing her as a young teenager when they traveled together to promote the film.

Her comments shook the French film industry when they were first reported last November. The French news website Mediapart outlined the allegations and investigation into Ruggia in great detail, leading to his being fired by the French directors' association, the SRF. Ruggia had been co-president of the SRF for several years. It marked the first time in its 50-year history that the association removed one of its members.

During the promotional tour for The Devils, a story of two troubled lovers, played by Haenel and actor Vincent Rottiers, Ruggia allegedly became infatuated with the underage actress and made a pass at her. Haenel said he began spending time with her on and off set and would invite her to his apartment to watch films. On one occasion he kissed her neck and tried to grope her, she says.

Ruggia's last film as a director was the 2011 thriller In Turmoil.