Dominique Boutonnat, the president of France’s powerful National Film Board (CNC), who has been under formal investigation for an alleged sexual assault on his 22-year-old godson, could now face a criminal court.
The Nanterre public prosecutor’s office has requested that Boutonnat’s case is brought before a criminal court following a 14-month investigation, according to news outlet AFP. It will now be up to a judge to determine whether Boutonnat — who has been under investigation since February 2021 — will face trial.
The alleged sexual assault occurred in August 2020 during a family holiday in Greece. Boutonnat’s godson, who is now either 23 or 24, filed a police complaint accusing Boutonnat of sexual assault and attempted rape roughly two months later, on Oct. 7. According to the AFP, the prosecutors’ office has ruled out the attempted rape charge but is maintaining the sexual assault claim.
Variety reached out to Boutonnat’s attorney, Emmanuel Marsigny, who wasn’t available to comment, and to the CNC, which declined to comment.
Boutonnat, a former producer and financier who was appointed president of the CNC in July 2019, is known for having close ties to President Emmanuel Macron, who was recently re-elected for a second term.
Despite being indicted, Boutonnat was allowed by the government, which backs the CNC, to remain in his post. While some orgs demanded that the government appoint an interim president during the judicial procedure, Culture Minister Roselyn Bachelot said during a televised interview that it was not her place “to sanction someone who is reputed innocent.”
“The ruling has not been delivered and the presumption of innocence of Dominique Boutonnat must be respected,” said Bachelot, adding that “the trial of public opinion can’t replace the judicial trial.”
Despite his legal troubles, Boutonnat has maintained a prominent profile at industry events. The executive attended the Cannes Film Festival last year, and was recently at French TV festival Series Mania in Lille, where he gave a speech on behalf of the CNC at an intimate cocktail reception for industry program Lille Dialogues.
Under his leadership, the CNC launched a series of workshops aimed at training all industry professionals against sexual harassment during shoots and in the work environment. The program was launched days before Boutonnat was accused of sexual assault and attempted rape.