Claude Jutra's alleged victim encouraged to come forward by police

Quebec provincial police are encouraging a man who says he was sexually abused as child by Claude Jutra to come forward and launch a complaint, even though the prominent filmmaker has been dead for 30 years.

Is it worth complaining about abuse when the alleged abuser is dead?

Quebec film director Claude Jutra is alleged to have had sex with underage boys and in at least one case sexually abused a boy as young as six. (Jacques Nadeau/Canadian Press)

Quebec police are encouraging a man who told a newspaper he was sexually abused as child by Claude Jutra to come forward and launch a complaint, even though the prominent filmmaker has been dead for 30 years.

A biography released this week alleged Jutra had sex with underage boys, while Montreal's La Presse quoted a man Wednesday as saying the filmmaker began touching him when he was six years old and that the abuse escalated over a 10-year period.

Jutra's name was pulled from the Quebec film industry awards after the allegations surfaced. Municipalities across Quebec also moved to remove his name from streets and parks.

None of the allegations against ​Jutra have been proven in court.

Sûreté du Québec Capt. Guy Lapointe told CBC News on Friday that he contacted the La Presse reporter who spoke to the alleged victim.

Talking about what happened can at least in part help lift the weight of these scars.- Alain  Arsenault , Montreal lawyer

"I asked him if it was possible for him to contact the victim to find out if this person wished to file a complaint or not," Lapointe said.

Even though police cannot charge a person who is deceased, Lapointe said there is still value in victims coming forward.

"It's important for these people to come forward. We want to make sure they're all right, that they're getting the support they need," he said.

Capt. Guy Lapointe, centre, of Quebec's provincial police force, says investigators hope to speak to a man who says he was abused as a child by filmmaker Claude Jutra. (CBC)
"And if there is an accomplice, or there is someone else who committed an infraction through this situation, then we want to be able to investigate and eventually charge these people."

According to La Presse, reporter Hugo Pilon-Larose has since spoken to the man who made the allegation and he is now considering the idea of talking to police. 

Lapointe would not confirm to CBC News if that has occurred. 

Lawsuit could bring 'comfort'

Alain Arsenault, a Montreal lawyer who's handled hundreds of civil cases involving sexual abuse of children, said it's rare in such cases that charges are laid against accomplices of abusers who have died.

He doubts a complaint to police would lead to any charges in the Jutra case, but said talking to police still has value.

"Victims often have serious psychological scars or addictions. Talking about what happened can at least in part help lift the weight of these scars," Arsenault said. "A criminal charge or a lawsuit can bring comfort."

Arsenault said lawsuits can help victims get justice.

Evidence gathered in criminal investigations, even in cases where the main suspect is dead, can sometimes bolster lawsuits, he said.

"You can sue someone's estate, you can sue their employer," he said.

"Victims often ask me, 'Am I going to recover from this?' I always say that you'll never recover totally, but you'll feel better, the scars will mostly heal."


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