The boss of a model agency is being investigated over the alleged rape and sexual assault of four women including a former BBC reporter.
Gerald Marie de Castellac, the ex-husband of supermodel Linda Evangelista, is said to have carried out the crimes while working for Elite and other Paris agencies.
French prosecutors say the 70-year-old is accused of raping three models aged between 17 and 20 in the 1980s and 1990s. Carre Otis, now 51, Ebba Karlsson, 51, and Jill Dodd, 60, said they had filed the complaint to try to encourage others to testify against Mr Marie, who heads Oui Management.
Lisa Brinkworth, a 53-year-old former BBC journalist, claims he sexually assaulted her in 1998 while she was working undercover to expose sexual crimes in the fashion industry.
Gerald Marie de Castellac (left), the ex-husband of supermodel Linda Evangelista (right), is said to have carried out the crimes while working for Elite and other Paris agencies
Confirming that the women had all renounced their legal right to anonymity, a prosecuting source said: ‘Investigations have been launched for rapes and sexual assault, as well as the rape and sexual assault of a minor.’
Such crimes are punishable by up to 15 years in prison but the statute of limitations is 20 years so most of the alleged offences will be out of time. In the case of sex with a minor, this statute can be raised to 30 years and this opens the possibility that Mr Marie who vehemently denies any wrongdoing, may end up in court.
Anne-Claire Le Jeune, barrister for the women, said: ‘I can only welcome this decision which, in view of the elements provided by the various victims, was essential.
Lisa Brinkworth, a 53-year-old former BBC journalist, claims he sexually assaulted her in 1998 while she was working undercover to expose sexual crimes in the fashion industry
‘This investigation will, I hope, allow others to have the courage to speak out. It is an encouraging first step and a relief for the victims.’
Mr Marie was not immediately available for comment, but before the inquiry was launched he said he categorically denied any wrongdoing.
He successfully settled with the BBC in 2001 after suing them for £1.7million in damages over similar allegations.
He claims he was set up by a BBC crew working for a documentary by the investigator reporter Donal MacIntyre, as part of the MacIntyre Undercover series. Miss Brinkworth says she is not bound by any agreement reached between the BBC and Mr Marie and is therefore able to speak out. The BBC has not commented.
Miss Le Jeune submitted the new complaints against Mr Marie last week.
She is also representing clients who claim they were abused by former French modelling agent Jean-Luc Brunel, 74, who allegedly ‘supplied women’ for the late paedophile financier Jeffrey Epstein. Brunel denies any wrongdoing, and has not been charged with any crime.
Carre Otis, now 51, started at Elite in Paris when she was 17, and now says she wants to expose ‘intolerable acts by men in power who seem to be able to act in all impunity’
Miss Otis, who is American, spoke out against Mr Marie in 2011, in an explosive memoir.
The former wife of actor Mickey Rourke started at Elite in Paris when she was 17, and now says she wants to expose ‘intolerable acts by men in power who seem to be able to act in all impunity’. In her book, she described befriending Mr Marie, who was then engaged to Miss Evangelista, and renting a room in his Paris home.
After allegedly finding Mr Marie’s cocaine stash in the bathroom, the two developed an ‘age-inappropriate’ bond while snorting the banned drug.
Carre Otis, now 51, Ebba Karlsson, 51, and Jill Dodd (pictured), 60, said they had filed the complaint to try to encourage others to testify against Mr Marie, who heads Oui Management
‘It was secretive, but it felt strangely safe,’ Miss Otis wrote. ‘I liked the way Gérald would laugh with me when we snorted lines together. I liked the way he teased me gently.’
The one-time face of Calvin Klein said that one evening ‘Gerald stood above me, ripping the covers from the bed. Before I could react, his sticky body was on me’.
Miss Otis went on to describe the ‘vicious penetration’, ‘violation,’ and a ‘horrific feeling’.
There is no suggestion Miss Evangelista knew of the allegations against Mr Marie.