Feb 10, 2021 @ 11:51

TV producer, husband targeted by rape probe

French prosecutors said on Tuesday they had opened an investigation into accusations of child sexual assault against a prominent television producer and his husband, the latest sexual assault case to rock the intellectual elite.

Gerard Louvin, who has produced some of the most popular shows on French television over the last decades, and his husband Daniel Moyne are being investigated for raping and complicity in raping minors, Paris prosecutors said.

The probe was initially opened in January after a complaint was filed by Louvin’s nephew, named as Olivier A. over alleged assault when he was aged 15.

Two other separate complaints also alleging sexual assault by the couple have now been merged into this inquiry, prosecutors said.

The complaint by Olivier A., now aged 48, accuses Louvin of encouraging rape carried out by his husband Moyne.

Louvin and Moyne’s lawyers have denied the claims, saying that they would file a complaint for “blackmail” and that the couple were victims of homophobia.

The allegations come after France’s intellectual elite was rocked last month by an accusation that a top political expert and commentator, Olivier Duhamel, sexually abused his stepson.

Prosecutors opened an investigation into Duhamel after the claims made in a new book by his stepdaughter Camille Kouchner, the sister of the alleged victim.

Duhamel has denied the allegations but stepped down from his various academic posts.

The director of the top French university Sciences Po, Frederic Mion, resigned on Tuesday after coming under criticism from students for his handling of the Duhamel case.

Mion first expressed surprise at the incest allegations against Duhamel — a former head of the organisation that runs the university — but later admitted he had been told of the accusations in 2018.

The higher education ministry last month launched an investigation into the school’s handling of the affair.

Mion said in a statement that if a provisional report from the investigation “confirms that no system of concerted silence or complacency existed within our establishment,” it “nonetheless points to errors in judgement on my part in the treatment of the allegations… as well as inconsistencies in the way I expressed myself”.

Last week, prosecutors opened a preliminary inquiry into prominent cinema and stage actor Richard Berry after his daughter accused him of incestuous sexual abuse while she was in her mid-teens.

Many commentators have cast France as being slow to break longstanding taboos over paedophilia but there have been a growing number of cases over the last year that have raised questions about how much still remains hidden.

Publisher Vanessa Springora, in a book published in January 2020, accused prize-winning writer Gabriel Matzneff of abusing her while she was a minor.

A producer of music hall, life performance, theatre and television in a long career, Louvin won national prominence as the producer of prime-time and top-rating TV shows such as the talent spotting hit Star Academy. (AFP)

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