This week, the famed Gucci family is coming under fire for some pretty horrifying accusations.
Alexandra Zarini, the 35-year-old great-granddaughter of Gucci founder Guccio Gucci, filed a lawsuit in Los Angeles that claimed that her stepfather, Joseph Ruffalo, sexually assaulted her as a minor and that her mother, Patricia Gucci, and grandmother, Bruna Palombo, facilitated and covered up the abuse.
Though Ruffalo hasn’t been convicted of this crime, these allegations are very serious and they highlight just how common childhood sexual abuse can be. Here are all the details about Zarini’s accusations:
Alexandra Zarini claims that Ruffalo abused her from ages 6 to 22.
According to Zarini’s suit, Ruffalo reportedly got into bed naked with her regularly while he and Zarini’s mother, Patricia, were still married, exposing himself to her and attempting to penetrate her with his hands. She also claimed that he fondled her and rubbed his genitals on her, and that this activity went on from the time she was six years old until she was 22.
Zarini accused her grandmother and mother of trying to protect the Gucci name instead of her.
Zarini claims that her grandmother, Palombo, asked her if she was being molested when she was 16 years old and when she said that she was, but both she and her mother told her to keep it a secret so as not to hurt the Gucci name in the fashion world.
But in a statement to the New York Times, Patricia Gucci claimed that Zarini’s allegations about her and her grandmother are false and that when she found out about the abuse, she immediately filed for divorce.
“I am deeply sorry for the pain Joseph Ruffalo caused Alexandra,” said Patricia Gucci’s statement. “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 counselling. I am equally devastated by the allegations against me and her grandmother, which are completely false.”
Ruffalo denies the allegations.
In his own statement via his lawyer, Richard P. Crane Jr., Ruffalo has denied Zarini’s allegations against him, accusing Alexandra of being “unstable.”
“What he has been informed of, he vehemently and categorically denies,” Crane said. “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.”