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Chilean filmmaker sentenced to five years for sexual abuse

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SANTIAGO — Chilean director Nicolás López, one of the country’s most prominent filmmakers, was sentenced Monday to five years in prison for sexually abusing two actresses.

The sentence coincided with what was requested by prosecutors after a court found him guilty in late April. In that verdict, the court absolved López of rape charges because judges determined there was insufficient evidence.

The filmmaker insisted he was innocent of any wrongdoing. His lawyers have asked for a much lesser sentence, saying he should receive two sentences of 61 days each that would not require time behind bars.

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

When he was first charged, in June 2018, López was the most successful Chilean filmmaker at the box office.

The 39-year-old director was known for his films including the “Que pena tu vida” trilogy as well as “Promedio rojo” and “Sin filtro”. López had successfully 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 cellphone to investigators and only did so after deleting 2,700 messages from the WhatsApp messaging platform. The police were able to recover the messages in which the filmmaker mentioned the cases in which he was accused.

López’s legal investigation began after local newspaper El Mercurio published an article in mid-2018 in which eight women, including three actresses, accused him of harassment and abuse.

Other actresses came to her defense.

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