Gilbert Rozon's alleged victims file class-action lawsuit

With this legal action, the group which calls itself Les Courageuses hopes to encourage more alleged victims of sexual assault to come forward and file a complaint.

Group called Les Courageuses seeks 'just compensation,' encourages more alleged victims to come forward

A group calling itself Les Courageuses says at least 20 victims allege they were assaulted by Gilbert Rozon at some point over a 32-year period from 1982 to 2016. (Radio-Canada)

A number of Quebec women are seeking leave to take legal action against the co-founder of the Juste pour rire/Just for Laughs festival, Gilbert Rozon, after several sexual assault allegations were made against him earlier this fall.

The women, who call themselves Les Courageuses, or the courageous ones, are among Rozon's alleged victims. They announced Monday that they've filed a class-action lawsuit application. 

The group is demanding "just compensation" for the victims and "truly punitive damages" against Rozon to emphasize "the intensity with which our society denounces such behaviour."

The group hopes to encourage more alleged victims of sexual assault to come forward and file a complaint.

Several women speak out

According to a news release from Les Courageuses, at least 20 victims allege they were assaulted by Rozon at some point over a 32-year period from 1982 to 2016.

At least four Quebec personalities made complaints against the well-known festival boss — television hosts Julie Snyder and Pénélope McQuade, director Lyne Charlebois, as well as actress Patricia Tulasne.

It's unclear whether these four personalities belong to the group, which is represented by two law firms, Kugler Kandestin and Trudel Johnston & Lespérance.

"It is clear, in our opinion, that the victims currently known only represent the tip of the iceberg," the group said in a statement. "This is why we have chosen the path of collective action to obtain justice."

One of the alleged victims' lawyers, Bruce W. Johnston, said he could not say more than what was written in the news release.

"We won't know how many people are part of this collective action until it ends, to ensure the anonymity of the victims," Johnston said.

Following the allegations against him, Rozon left his position as president of the Just for Laughs group, and gave up his role as commissioner of the 375th anniversary celebrations, as well as his responsibilities as vice-president of the Metropolitan Montreal Board of Trade.

RBC Capital Markets has been mandated to explore several options for the sale of Rozon's shares in his company.

With files from La Presse canadienne