Chilean filmmaker sentenced to five years for sexual abuse

SANTIAGO (AP) — Chilean director Nicolás López, one of the country’s highest-profile filmmakers, was sentenced Monday to five years in prison for sexual abuse against two actresses.

The sentence coincided with what was requested by prosecutors after a court found him guilty at the end of April. In that verdict, the court absolved López of rape charges because judges determined there was not enough proof.

The filmmaker has insisted he is innocent of any wrongdoing. His lawyers asked for a far lesser punishment, saying he should receive two sentences of 61 days each that would not require time behind bars.

The prosecution alleged López “took advantage of work meetings to attack” victims, using his position to commit the crimes that took place between 2004 and 2016.

When he was first accused, in June 2018, López was the Chilean filmmaker with the most success at the box office.

The 39-year-old director was known for films including the “Que pena tu vida” trilogy as well as “Promedio rojo” and “Sin filtro.” López had succesfully entered the Mexican market with “Dulce familia,” which premiered in May 2019.

During the trial, prosecutors said López took several months to hand over his mobile phone to investigators and did so only after deleting 2,700 messages from the messaging platform WhatsApp. Law enforcement was able to recover the mesages in which the filmmaker referred to the instances in which he was accused.

The judicial investigation of López began after local newspaper El Mercurio published a story in mid-2018 in which eight women, including three actresses, accused him of harassment and abuse.

Other actresses came out in his defense.

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