Gucci Heir Alleges Child Sexual Abuse

By Vanessa Friedman
New York Times
September 9, 2020

For the last five years, the name Gucci has been synonymous with success, with a fashion reinvention that has helped redirect the luxury industry toward inclusivity, emotion and the importance of creativity. The family that created the brand has a more complicated, darker past, one involving tax evasion, generational feuds and murder. This week, another charge will be added to that list.

On Tuesday, Alexandra Zarini, the 35-year-old granddaughter of Aldo Gucci, the man responsible for transforming an artisanal leather goods house into a global behemoth, filed suit in the California Superior Court in Los Angeles. In it, she describes years of sexual abuse from her former stepfather, Joseph Ruffalo, and complicity and a cover-up on the part of her mother, Patricia Gucci, and grandmother, Bruna Palombo.

According to the court documents, Mr. Ruffalo, a music manager who worked with Prince and Earth, Wind & Fire, began abusing Ms. Zarini when she was about six years old and continued until she was about 22. In her lawsuit she describes him regularly climbing naked into bed with her when she was a child and teenager and fondling her breasts and genitals; flashing his genitals at her; and rubbing his penis against her body.

The lawsuit also claims that her mother, Patricia Gucci, and her grandmother knew of the abuse for years and that her mother not only helped groom her for Mr. Ruffalo’s advances by allowing him to videotape her naked in the bath but also regularly hit her. In addition, the suit states that both women threatened her so that she would remain quiet.








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