Just for Laughs Founder Gilbert Rozon Charged with Rape and Assault

Just for Laughs Founder Gilbert Rozon Charged with Rape and Assault
Just for Laughs founder Gilbert Rozon has been charged with rape and indecent assault.

The alleged sex-related crimes date back to 1979, Quebec's director of criminal and penal prosecutions (DPCP) announced today. This means Rozon will face charges based on the criminal code of that time.

However, the Crown is not pursuing 13 other sex-related allegations against Rozon. As CTV Montreal reports, the Crown stated that while it believes the various women who have come forward with complaints against Rozon, it is often very difficult to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that a crime occurred.

The Crown also pointed out that several civil cases have been filed against Rozon for sexual harassment, but in those civil cases, the burden of proof is not the same as with criminal trials.

In a statement, the DPCP said it informed the other women of its decision not to pursue charges in those cases, but that protecting victims of sexual assault was at the "heart of its mission." 

In May, a class-action lawsuit against Rozon was approved by a Quebec judge for alleged harassment and sexual assault of several women. The complaint was lodged by a group of women calling themselves Les Courageuses ("The Courageous Ones"), who are seeking $10 million in punitive damages.

Those alleged victims accuse Rozon of sex crimes that took place over several decades, with the most recent being in 2016.

Last year, Rozon sold his shares in Just for Laughs after the allegations against him became public.