According to a report published today by BuzzFeed, a Canadian woman named Sera Johnston (who now goes by the name Lauren) has accused the actor Timothy Hutton of raping her when she was 14 years old. Johnston claims she and two friends were invited by Timothy Hutton and multiple male friends he was with to come back to a hotel room and “party” with them. It was 1983 in Vancouver, British Columbia, and Hutton was 23 years old at the time. After getting to the hotel room, Johnston says there was drinking and she was immediately uncomfortable, and that she was eventually lead to a bedroom by Hutton and one of his friends. In that room, Hutton is alleged to have raped Johnston while his friend watched, and also attempted to force her to perform oral sex.
Hutton denies any wrongdoing, and says he “will not spend one more minute dignifying these allegations as they are patently false and designed only to extort money from him.” Per Buzzfeed’s report, “To counter her claims, Hutton has enlisted two law firms and three spokespeople. The actor’s representatives have provided BuzzFeed News with an extensive array of information, including a 91-page letter (which they said may not be quoted), meant to discredit Johnston and halt this article.”
BuzzFeed interviewed multiple family members, friends, and people connected to Johnston who say she shared the story of the alleged rape at the hands of Hutton at various times over the years, including with her mother and ex-stepdad. (Her mother even took her to a doctor’s appointment to see if she was pregnant.) One of the friends at the hotel with Johnston that night spoke on the condition of anonymity, but confirmed the presence of Hutton and his friends in a hotel room with the three minors. The third girl who was with them declined to participate in the story.
There is no statute of limitations on rape in Canada, and Johnston’s current lawyer confirmed that she filed a criminal complaint against Hutton last November with the Vancouver Police Department. When she was with previous legal representation, Johnston did go into mediation with the actor’s team, and her representative pursued $1.5 million in restitution. She was offered $135,000 but declined to complete the paperwork for the settlement when she realized it would include a denial of any wrongdoing from Hutton. His lawyers have called that money “a nuisance settlement and should be a strong indicator of how the credibility of Ms. Johnston and her fictitious claim was perceived at the mediation by all in attendance.” She also signed a nondisclosure agreement during mediation that Hutton’s team says remains “fully enforceable.”