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A Canadian ex-model and former child actor has come out with allegations that Almost Family star Timothy Hutton raped her when she was 14 years old while his friend watched and later also raped her.
Sera Johnston claimed that the incident occurred after she met the actor in Vancouver in 1983 while out on the town at Granville Island with three friends in middle school. Hutton was shooting the 1984 film Iceman, directed by Fred Schepisi, and he and two friends initiated a conversation with the girls and invited them back to Hutton’s hotel to hang out, according to a new report in BuzzFeed News. When they returned to the actor’s hotel room, the girls were served drinks and Johnston said Hutton got close to her, brought her to his bedroom and raped her while a friend watched.
Johnston filed a criminal complaint with the Vancouver police in late 2019 about the alleged incident. She said she initially told the men she was 17 years old, then later admitted she was 14 years old. The age of consent in Canada is 16 years old now, but was 14 years old in 1983. There is no statute of limitations for sexual assault, misconduct or battery claims in Canada.
Johnston, who was also a working actor at the time, said that she protested the conduct of Hutton and his friend at the time, saying “Don’t think this is a good idea” and “I don’t think my mother would be too happy about this.” She said that in response to her expressed wish to leave the hotel room, “To everything I would say, it was, ‘It’ll be OK, it’ll be OK. It won’t last long, and you’ll be fine.’”
After Hutton raped her, Johnston added, so did his friend. She said she begged the pair to stop and cried at the time: “It hurt like hell,” she told BuzzFeed News. “I mean, it was very painful. God. Yeah, it was extremely painful. Horrible, horrible, absolutely horrible.”
In a statement provided to BuzzFeed News about the allegations, representatives for Hutton said the actor “completely and unequivocally denies” the story. His lawyer told the publication he had never met Johnston and “will not spend one more minute dignifying these allegations as they are patently false and designed only to extort money from him.” He added that Johnston “provided salacious, heinous, and graphic details of this made-up sexual encounter that supposedly occurred 36 years ago. Although these were disgusting details any smut fiction writer could conjure up.”
Hutton has hired two law firms and three representatives, per BuzzFeed; according to Hutton’s lawyers, Johnston hired her own lawyer to pursue a financial settlement. Hutton’s lawyers also say that in 2019 Johnston’s ex-boyfriend contacted the friend of Hutton’s who allegedly raped her when she was 14 years old to come to strike a deal. “It put me in a very difficult situation,” Johnston told BuzzFeed News of her ex-boyfriend’s conduct.
Johnston countered that she was advised by one attorney to reach a settlement considering that she was within the legal age of consent at the time of the alleged incident. She added that Hutton agreed to an initial settlement of $135,000 (less than the $1.5 million her lawyer had suggested), but she later scrapped the deal.
One of the friends who Johnston was with the night she met Hutton corroborated her claims that they went to the actor’s hotel room and said that she heard muffled cries of pain from the room that Hutton went into with the actor, but that she was busy at the time rejecting advances from another of Hutton’s friends. The other friend who was allegedly at the hotel room declined to comment. Five friends of the former child actor later told about the alleged incident confirmed that they had heard the story to BuzzFeed News.
On the other hand, an actor named Réal Andrews, who previously said he saw Hutton in the hotel room that night, now says he did not see any inappropriate behavior in a sworn statement sent by his lawyer to BuzzFeed News.
Johnston said she never went to the police at the time because she blamed herself and wanted to move forward. “It was a bad sexual experience, you know? That’s what it was. It was just a really bad first experience, and that’ll never happen again,” she told BuzzFeed News.
Johnston added that she finally came forward because she read about a British woman who accused Harvey Weinstein of assault, another case of a foreign national accusing a U.S. citizen, and so she hired that woman’s attorney, Jeff Herman.
Hutton won the best supporting actor Academy Award in 1981 for his role in Ordinary People. He has recently appeared on Netflix’s The Haunting of Hill House, ABC’s How to Get Away With Murder and Amazon’s Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan and has a supporting role in the upcoming film The Glorias.
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