KEY POINTS

  • Alexandra Zarini has accused her stepfather, Joseph Ruffalo, of sexual abuse 
  • In her lawsuit, Zarini claimed that Ruffalo used to climb naked in the bed with her  
  • She also claimed that her mother and grandmother knew about the abuse and threatened her to stay quiet

Alexandra Zarini, the 35-year-old granddaughter of Aldo Gucci, has alleged that her stepfather, Joseph Ruffalo, sexually abused her for years in a lawsuit filed in the California Superior Court in Los Angeles.

The lawsuit filed by Zarini claims that her mother, Patricia Gucci, and grandmother, Bruna Palombo, knew about the abuse, The New York Times reported. She also alleged that her mother and grandmother were also involved in both the facilitation and cover-up of the abuse.

As per the court documents, Ruffalo allegedly started abusing the plaintiff when she was just 6 years of age and continued to abuse her until the age of 22. In the lawsuit, Zarini claimed that Ruffalo, who has worked with musicians like Prince and Earth, Wind & Fire, regularly climbed into the bed naked with her when she was a child and teenager and fondled her breasts and touched her genitals.

She also alleged that her stepfather flashed his genitals at her and rubbed his private part against her body. In the lawsuit, she stated that Ruffalo attempted to penetrate her with his hands.

“Defendant Ruffalo would remove his bathrobe, so he was completely naked, and climb into bed with the Plaintiff. The plaintiff would lie stiffly in her bed as Defendant Ruffalo reached underneath the Plaintiff’s clothes to touch Plaintiff’s nipples,” New York Times quoted the documents.

The media outlet also reported that Patricia, Zarini’s mother, and her grandmother knew about the abuse for years. Patricia allowed Ruffalo to videotape Zarini while taking a bath and also hit her regularly. Additionally, both women threatened her so she would keep quiet, according to the documents.

Patricia responded to the allegations leveled against her in an email sent to The New York Times. In her statement, Patricia said she is “deeply sorry” for the pain Ruffalo caused Alexandra. She also noted that she initiated divorce proceedings as soon as she got to know about everything in 2007. However, she said that the allegations against her and Zarini’s grandmother are “completely false.”

“I am deeply sorry for the pain Joseph Ruffalo caused Alexandra. What he did to her is inexcusable and I was devastated when she disclosed everything to me at our family doctor’s office in London in September 2007. I immediately initiated divorce proceedings against Mr. Ruffalo and set about healing my family through counseling. I am equally devastated by the allegations against me and her grandmother, which are completely false,” NYT quoted Patricia, as saying.

On the other hand, Ruffalo has “vehemently” denied all the allegations and explained that he and his wife were “greatly concerned” about Zarini’s mental health. The statement was released by Ruffalo's attorney Richard P. Crane Jr.

“My client has not been served and has not read the complaint. 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. While married to Alexandra’s mother, Mr. Ruffalo and his wife were greatly concerned about the mental well-being of Alexandra and took steps to address her instability. Apparently, their efforts failed,” Crane Jr. told The New York Times.

Speaking with The Times through a video call, Zarini said she doesn’t want anything like this to happen to any child.

“I don’t care. I just want to stop this. She (Patricia) can call me anything she wants I just don’t want this to happen to anyone, like my child or any child ,” Zarini said.

French global luxury goods group Kering reported record sales and margins for 2019, led by its Gucci brand French global luxury goods group Kering reported record sales and margins for 2019, led by its Gucci brand Photo: AFP / STEPHANE DE SAKUTIN