Asia Argento Back in Public for the First Time Since Sexual Assault Claim

9/12/2018 2:54 PM PDT

Asia Argento Resurfaces for First Time After Bennett's Sexual Assault Claim

Asia Argento isn't hiding anymore ... she's showing her face in public for the first time since Jimmy Bennett's claim she sexually assaulted him when he was 17.  

The Italian actress resurfaced on the streets of Rome, going out for a ride with her director pal, Giovanni Veronesi, last weekend. The agency that shot the photos says they went to a house party overnight ... and Veronesi dropped her off at home the next day. 

Asia made little attempt to go undercover -- no hat pulled down over her face, just a pair of shades -- despite the allegations Bennett is now making about their sexual encounter.

TMZ broke the story ... sources told us Bennett would be sitting down with the L.A. County Sheriff's Dept. to tell his story after Argento's lawyer, Mark Heller, issued a statement questioning Bennett's character and motives. 

Argento initially denied ever having a sexual relationship with Bennett, but text messages and a photo obtained by TMZ debunked her claim. Her lawyer says she wasn't lying though, insisting that a one-time encounter doesn't amount to a relationship.

Asia's already been dropped from one show due to the Bennett controversy. Her episodes on Anthony Bourdain's 'Parts Unknown' were also scrubbed.