“Hugues a journalist who makes sense of US news for French viewers,” a statement recently made by the Economist.
Hugues-Denver Akassy allegedly struck three times since March 2009, tormenting his victims on the street, via e-mail, and even climbing a fire escape to one woman’s apartment.
The man arrested for raping a Russian tourist in ≈ a French-born TV reporter charged with terrorizing women on the Upper West Side for at least a year and a half, authorities said yesterday.
His reign of terror came to a terrifying end Tuesday night when he was busted for allegedly raping the tourist — by far his most serious charge — after arranging to meet her in the park for a “picnic.”
Akassy is being held on $100,000 bail.
His Web site claims he’s a Paris-raised, award-winning journalist for Orbite TV, a French cable show that did profiles of everyone from Kofi Annan and Bill Clinton, to Angelina Jolie, Bono and Andre Agassi.
Aside from the rape charge, Akassy faces a litany of aggravated-harassment and criminal-trespass counts for alleged prior misdeeds, including one that occurred the same day he met the Russian tourist.
A charge of aggravated harassment in March 2009 when he chased a 33-year-old woman on an Upper West Side street and yelled at her after she spurned his advances.
Akassy, 42, also sent a West 76th Street woman an e-mail that read, “You are a pathetic retarded girl. You gain a reputation for being obnoxious and disgusting. You are shameful and do not deserve my attention.”
A charge of criminal trespass last Sunday when he was found on the fire escape of a 33-year-old woman on West 75th Street.
Two other criminal-trespass charges for turning up at New York Sports Clubs, last Christmas Eve and again in January, after being barred from the club, where he was a former member.
The DA’s Office suspects that Akassy may have committed other crimes and is asking anyone with information to call (212) 335-9373.
When asked about the rape case, his attorney, Howard Simmons, said Akassy acknowledges having sex with the 43-year-old woman, but insists it was consensual.
niversity, Master’s Degree in Political Science and holds a Journalism Diplomat at CFJ – Paris’ Center for Professional Journalism Formation, with another Master’s Degree in Films and Audio-Visual Studies). Akassy also holds a BA of Classical Music (percussion Sol-fa) from the Paris Conservatoire de Musique. He currently lives in both Paris and Washington, DC.
As a photojournalist and print reporter from 1990 to 1992, Akassy covered major wars and crises around the world, including those in Africa, traveling to 25 African countries in the process. He also covered events in Europe, Asia, and North and South America. Through Reuters, Akassy’s photos made the front pages of the major French national newspapers, Le Figaro and Liberation. Akassy’s photo features told stories of West Africa under a variety of political regimes, often followed by violent conflicts, including the one in Liberia. He also continued with his production work at the time, and handled news features with French networks FR3 (Actual France 3) and AITV.
From 1992 to 1993, Akassy settled in Montreal and dedicated his career to radio. He was a newscaster for the morning news at the Radio Center-ville de Montreal and CIBL Radio. He also contributed to the production of the Radio Canada’s (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) most famous program, Dimanche Magazine. In 1992 Akassy received the International Red Cross Information Award for “Inform Those Who Inform You,” an award given to journalist alumni who have demonstrated excellence in information.
In July 1993 Akassy was a freelance correspondent for Radio Canada (CBC) in Paris and a freelance producer-reporter-cameraman for CNN International and the BBC-French Services in Somalia during the U.S. military operation Restore Hope. He also covered the Civil War in Bosnia.
In 1994 Akassy was a news correspondent for RFI (Radio France International) at the United Nations headquarters in New York City, and during the same year he was a Special Envoy as a producer-reporter-cameraman in Haiti to cover the U.S. military operation Restore Democracy.
Akassy has lived in Washington, DC for the past 9 years as U.S. News Foreign Correspondent covering the White House, the State Department, the Pentagon and the Congress. From 1995 to 1997, he was the Washington-based news correspondent for TV5 (the French International Cable Network) seen worldwide with more than 80 million viewers and the Washington Bureau Chief of Africa No1 – the leading French radio network in Africa.
Since November of 1997, Hugues-Denver Akassy has served as the principal of HDA Pictures which used to produce Orbite in 60 minutes format, as well as other programs in multi-media format. Orbite has become known for major hour-long profiles, including The Clinton Legacy at the End of his Presidency. In addition to President Clinton, guests have included Nelson Mandela and Kofi Annan, as well as numerous other governmental leaders, 1993’s Nobel Prize Laureate in Literature Toni Morrison, Pulitzer prize winners David Maraniss of The Washington Post, and business leaders Ted Turner and Bill Gates. News stories have also been produced on Emmy Award Winners such as U2-Bono, YoYo Ma, Harry Belafonte, Sting, etc. on Hollywood stars, such as Jodie Foster, Angelina Jolie, Bill Cosby, etc. and sports figures like Pete Sampras and Andre Agassi, as well as cutting edge subjects like Lou Gehrig’s disease, suicide, and the Human Genome Project. Drawn from major exhibits at distinguished museums, Akassy’s series called “Great Masters” takes an in-depth look at an artist’s biography as well as the artist’s visual presentations of the art.
Akassy lectures on a wide variety of subjects at college campuses in Canada and in Africa and is a frequent moderator of (Civil War and the Danger to be a Journalist in Africa) conferences in the United States.