PARIS: One of France’s most prominent TV journalists has been charged with rape, the prosecutor’s office has said, following a string of accusations of sexual abuse at the height of his career.
It is the first time that former prime-time news presenter Patrick Poivre d’Arvor, 76, has been charged.
Poivre d’Arvor was charged on Monday with raping writer Florence Porcel in 2009, the prosecutor’s office said late yesterday.
The journalist’s lawyers in a statement said he “firmly contested the allegations made by Porcel as he has done since the first day”.
Porcel, 40, has accused him of forcing her to have sex with him in 2004 and perform oral sex in 2009.
The prosecutor’s office said he was still under investigation over the alleged 2004 incident.
French prosecutors launched an initial inquiry in 2021 then dropped it several months later, but Porcel filed a new complaint, leading to the charge on Monday.
Some 22 women have also come forward to accuse the television personality of rape, as well as sexual assault and harassment.
Another probe is looking into these allegations.
Women who have accused him welcomed the indictment.
“We’re overjoyed by this decision, both for Florence Porcel … and all the women who have taken part in the judicial proceedings,” #MeTooMedia, a group founded by three women who have accused him, said on X, formerly Twitter, late yesterday.
One of them, Marie-Laure Eude Delattre, told AFP it was “extraordinary progress”, even if all was not won.
Delattre in 2021 filed a complaint against Poivre d’Arvor, accusing him of raping her as a 23-year-old intern at the Cannes Film Festival in 1985.
“Finally,” said journalist Helene Devynck, who has accused him of raping her when she was his assistant in 1993, but whose complaint was thrown out because of a statute of limitations.
The charge comes as France reels from renewed focus this month on allegations of sexual violence against superstar actor Gerard Depardieu.
A Spanish journalist and author said yesterday that she had filed a criminal complaint in Spain against Depardieu, claiming that he raped her nearly three decades ago in Paris.
The actor was charged with rape in another case in France in 2020, and has also been accused of sexual harassment and assault by more than a dozen women.