French movie director Christophe Ruggia was taken into custody on Tuesday over allegations that he sexually assaulted a teenage girl who was cast in one of his movies nearly two decades ago, Paris prosecutors said.

Actress Adèle Haenel​, who is now 31, has alleged that Ruggia assaulted and harassed her between 2001 and 2004 after she was cast in a Ruggia-directed movie called Les Diables, or The Devils.

According to Haenel’s allegations, published in French media outlet Mediapart in November last year, she was first harassed aged 12 and the abuse continued until she was 15.

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Jean-Pierre Versini-Campinchi, a lawyer for Ruggia, said the filmmaker denied any misconduct.

The Paris prosecutor’s office in November opened a preliminary probe into “sexual assault of a minor aged 15 by a person of authority”, and “sexual harassment”.

Haenel has credited the documentary Leaving Neverland, in which two men share detailed allegations of child sexual abuse against Michael Jackson (which his family denies), with prompting her to speak out.

The #MeToo movement, which gained traction after sexual misconduct allegations against Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein were made public (allegations Weinstein denies), has sparked a wave of allegations by people who say they were sexually abused by those in powerful positions.

But the response in France so far has been relatively muted.

While many in France have embraced the movement, some prominent figures have not.

Actress Catherine Deneuve put her name, with 99 other French women, to a 2018 letter saying the #MeToo campaign amounted to “puritanism” and that men had the right to “pester” women. 

Additional reporting by agencies