A Sexual Abuse Lawsuit Splits the Gucci Family

For the previous few months, scenes from Lake Como in Italy, the place Ridley Scott is filming “The House of Gucci,” the film about the murder-for-hire of Maurizio Gucci by his spouse, have trended on social media. Viewers have cooed over the garments and the stars, Adam Driver and Lady Gaga, whereas the household itself has lodged protests in opposition to what a Gucci scion Patrizia Gucci mentioned was “stealing the identity of a family to make a profit, to increase the income of the Hollywood system.”

But out of the highlight, in California, yet one more chapter has been added to the real-life darkish saga of Guccio Gucci’s heirs.

On April 26, Patricia Gucci, the granddaughter of the man who created the luxurious model and who’s the love youngster of the son who took it world, in addition to her mom, Bruna Palombo, filed a “motion to quash service of summons” in response to a lawsuit introduced in September by her eldest daughter, Alexandra Zarini, in California Superior Court in Los Angeles. That swimsuit alleged years of sexual abuse by Ms. Zarini’s former stepfather, Joseph Ruffalo, and accused her mom and grandmother of negligence.

The response from Patricia Gucci and Ms. Palombo mentioned Mr. Ruffalo had been abusive however denied Ms. Zarini’s allegations of collusion and included a movement to quash due to lack of jurisdiction. It additionally names Ms. Gucci’s second daughter, Victoria Gucci-Losio, as one other of Mr. Ruffalo’s victims, and accuses Ms. Zarini of utilizing the lawsuit to get cash from her household.

It is the first time Ms. Gucci-Losio has been publicly named as a part of the case (she was not included in her sister’s submitting) and indicators a deepening schism in a household that has seen greater than its share of tragedy and antagonism.

(The Gucci household has not been concerned with the Gucci model since 1993.)

Mr. Ruffalo, a former music supervisor, was married to Patricia Gucci from 1993 to 2008; they lived collectively in Los Angeles from 1992 to 1998. She divorced him upon being informed by Ms. Zarini in 2007 that Mr. Ruffalo had been abusing her since she was 6 years previous, and her sister since she was four.

Ms. Zarini has additionally filed felony complaints in opposition to Mr. Ruffalo in Beverly Hills, Calif., and Windsor, England; she, her mom and her sisters moved to Ascot, south of Windsor, in 1998, and when Mr. Ruffalo would come go to, she alleges, the abuse continued. Both investigations are persevering with.

Mr. Ruffalo has up to now evaded being served with the California lawsuit, in keeping with Deborah Mallgrave of Greenberg Gross, one in all Ms. Zarini’s legal professionals. When the lawsuit was filed, Mr. Ruffalo’s lawyer, Richard P. Crane Jr., informed The New York Times that his consumer had not been served, and “Therefore, he is not aware of all of the allegations that the Complaint contains. What he has been informed of, he vehemently and categorically denies.”

However, when contacted this week, Mr. Crane mentioned he was not representing Mr. Ruffalo on this matter and didn’t know how one can attain him.

Though the focus of Ms. Gucci’s submitting is an assertion that the California courtroom lacks the energy to listen to the case since Ms. Gucci at present lives in Switzerland and Ms. Palombo resides in Italy, the response additionally states that neither Ms. Gucci nor Ms. Palombo had been conscious of the abuse. It additional alleges that Ms. Zarini informed her youthful sister “that they must never tell anyone, and particularly not their mother, about the abuse.”

The response additionally states that Ms. Zarini’s claims are primarily based on a want to extract cash from her household, the notion that they’ve “deep pockets” and that the destructive press consideration engendered by the lawsuit will power them to supply “early access to the ‘inheritance’ to which she believes she in entitled.”

In a press release to The New York Times, Ms. Zarini mentioned, “To insinuate that I am to blame for the sexual abuse perpetrated by Patricia’s ex-husband on my little sister, when I myself was being abused, demonstrates a deep misunderstanding of the trauma and the psychological effects of sexual abuse on a young child.”

Ms. Zarini has established a basis, the Alexandra Gucci Children’s Foundation, to combat the sexual abuse of children.

Ms. Gucci-Losio, 31, who lives in Italy, has been drawn into the fray. She confirmed the allegation that she had been abused by Mr. Ruffalo and that she and her sister had discussed what was happening.

Though she wanted Mr. Ruffalo brought to justice, Ms. Gucci-Losio said she had not wanted to become involved in her sister’s lawsuit. “I did not want to publicly expose my trauma to the world, and I wanted to move on with my life,” she said. “We knew that the family name would attract attention. The decision to keep silent was to protect us from public spectacle and scrutiny.”

Ms. Gucci-Losio said she was unaware that her sister “intended to bring legal action against our mother and grandmother” and was “shocked” by the allegations,” which is why she agreed to be named in her mother’s response. She disputed her sister’s claim that her mother and grandmother were aware of the abuse “while it was occurring.” (She currently works with her mother on the luxury luggage brand Patricia introduced in 2019.)

Ms. Gucci-Losio said she had been in regular contact with Ms. Zarini until the lawsuit but that they have not spoken since it was filed. A court date of Aug. 20 has been set to hear Ms. Gucci’s motion. Ms. Gucci-Losio said she had not yet been called as a witness.

“If I am asked to testify, I am prepared to do so,” she said. “As hard as it will be for me to have to relive it all over again, I will do what is necessary.”

If so, once again the saga of the Guccis may play out in the public eye for reasons that have nothing to do with handbags or Hollywood.

Source link Nytimes.com

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