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France Cinema Agency Chief Gets 3 Year Jail Over Sexual Assault Of Godson

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France Cinema Agency Chief Gets 3 Year Jail Over Sexual Assault Of Godson

Dominique Boutonnat denies any sexual assault has taken place. (File)

Paris:

The head of France’s top cinema institution, Dominique Boutonnat, was on Friday given a three-year prison sentence, including two years suspended, after being convicted of sexually assaulting his godson in 2020.

In a statement released immediately after the ruling, Boutonnat announced he was stepping down as head of the National Centre of Cinema (CNC), whose role includes overseeing measures to curb sexual violence in the industry.

He will be able to serve his one-year jail term at home wearing an electronic bracelet, said the Nanterre criminal court outside Paris. Boutonnat, 54, was also banned from having any contact with the victim for three years.

In its verdict, the court ruled that the “plaintiff’s version was more credible” than that of Boutonnat who, according to the court, always exercised “a real influence” over his godson.

In the statement released by the CNC, Boutonnat “reaffirmed his innocence” and said he would appeal.

Boutonnat’s godson has accused him of trying to masturbate him during a holiday in Greece in 2020 when he was 19.

In court, the young man has described Boutonnat as “more than a godfather.”

“It’s someone using me to masturbate,” he said.

Boutonnat denies any sexual assault has taken place. He has said in court that it was his godson who had initiated the situation and kissed him on the mouth.

“I feel bad about leaving an ambiguous situation, but to say there was a sexual assault is false,” he has told the court.

He was placed under investigation in February 2021 but still reappointed by the government as head of the CNC in July 2022.

“This case is a perfect demonstration of what sexual assault is,” said Caroline Toby, the victim’s lawyer, adding that “the abuse of authority” had been recognised in court.

On June 14, the public prosecutor had requested a three-year suspended prison sentence for Boutonnat.

The trial came as French cinema reels from a renewed #MeToo reckoning that has seen several big names, including acting legend Gerard Depardieu, accused of sexual abuse.

Activists had denounced Boutonnat’s leadership of the National Centre of Cinema (CNC).

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)



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