MONTREAL (CelebrityAccess) — The founder of Montreal's Just For Laughs Festival announced that he is stepping down from his position at the company shortly before the publication of a news story containing sexual assault and harassment allegations from nine different women.
"I announce that I am leaving now my duties as chairman of the group just for laughs, as a commissioner for the 375th Montreal celebrations and as Vice-President of the Montreal Chamber of commerce. I withdraw out of respect for employees and families who work for these organizations and all our partners. I don't want to wear ombrage. Shaken by the allegations, I wish to devote my time to the point. To all those who have been offended in my life, I am truly sorry," Gilbert Rozon, who is 62, wrote in a post on his social media.
A few hours after Rozon's post went live, the Montreal-based French-language newspaper Le Devoir published a story in which several women, including actress Salome Corbo, alleged sexual conduct my Rozon.
Corbo told the publication that Rozon assaulted her when in 1990 when she was 14. According to Corbo, Rozon grabbed her at a festival and assaulted her.
Entrepreneur Geneviève Allard told Le Devoir that she met Rozon on a television show and went to dinner with him in 2016. She claims that after Rozon escorted her home after dinner, she awoke to find him sexually assaulting her.
Other accusers include Director Lyne Charlebois told Le Devoir that Rozon attacked her after a dinner in 1982.
The TVA television network reported that Montreal police have launched an investigation into a sexual assault complaint that allegedly occurred in Paris in 1994.
Rozon has previously been investigated by police for alleged sexual misconduct. According to the CBC, Rozon pleaded guilty in 1998 to fondling a 19-year-old woman, for which he received a $1,100 fine and a year probation, but was granted an unconditional discharge after a judge determined that a criminal record for sexual assault might hamper his international business interests.
Rozon was also charged with unlawful confinement in connection with a 31-year-old woman, but the charge was later withdrawn due to a lack of evidence, the CBC said.