Alexandra Zarini, the 35-year-old great-granddaughter of Gucci founder Guccio Gucci – has accused her stepfather, Joseph Ruffalo, of sexual abuse.
In a lawsuit filed this week (begs07Sep20) in the California Superior Court in Los Angeles, Alexandra alleges that her mother, Patricia Gucci, and grandmother, Bruna Palombo, were involved in both the facilitation and cover-up of the abuse, according to court documents obtained by the New York Times.
She claims that Joseph, a music-industry player who worked with Prince and Earth, Wind & Fire, established a pattern of abuse that spanned from when she was around six years old until she was around 22.
When Alexandra was around 16, she says her grandmother asked her if Ruffalo was molesting her. When she responded yes, she was told to keep it a secret. Her mother also allegedly silenced her.
Per the filing, Gucci and Palombo "tried to avoid, at all costs, what they perceived would be a scandal that could tarnish the Gucci name and potentially cost them millions."
According to the New York Times, Alexandra filed a report with the Beverly Hills Police Department outlining the alleged abuse, and the file is still open.
Patricia tells the publication, "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 counselling."
"I am equally devastated by the allegations against me and her grandmother, which are completely false."
Joseph's lawyer, Richard P. Crane, Jr., insists that while his client had not been served and therefore was unfamiliar with the exact nature of the allegations, "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," Crane adds. "Apparently, their efforts failed."
Meanwhile, Alexandra, who has been threatened with disinheritance over the allegations, says she has been largely financially independent from her family post-rehab, and states, "I just want to stop this… I just don't want this to happen to anyone, like my child or any child."