French actor faces inquiry for alleged abuse of daughter

·2-min read
Actor Richard Berry has starred in successful theatre productions and films in a career spanning half a century

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

Richard Berry, who has starred in successful theatre productions and films in a career spanning half a century, is accused in a complaint by his daughter Coline of raping and sexually abusing her when she was 15, prosecutors said.

In a statement on his social media channels, Berry, 70, vehemently denied the allegations.

But Paris prosecutors said Wednesday that an investigation had been opened against him on January 25 following his daughter's accusations.

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.

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.

Film star Adele Haenel in November 2019 accused director Christophe Ruggia of sexually harassing her when she was in her early teens.

Writing on Instagram on Wednesday, Coline Berry said she had been "kissed by my father on the mouth with the tongue" and "had to participate in sexual games".

She said her complaint was a "serious step that had been reflected on and thought about".

Richard Berry said he denied "with all my strength and without ambiguity these foul accusations."

"I have never had inappropriate or incestuous relations with Coline, or with any of my children," he said on Instagram.

In the last two years, Berry has enjoyed great success with a one-man theatre show "Pleadings," playing five different lawyers defending some of France's most famous cases.

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