A Quebec man and his family who say their lives were ruined by the provincial police’s attempts to link him to the high-profile disappearance of a nine-year-old girl is suing the force and the province for $10.5 million.
Jonathan Bettez, his parents, and Emballages Bettez Inc. are seeking damages for the destruction of the family business and living through what was described as a terrible ordeal in a lawsuit filed Thursday.
In a statement, the law firm representing the Bettez family says police opened a probe targeting Bettez for juvenile pornography without evidence and with an altogether different motive: to jump-start the investigation into the 2007 disappearance of Cedrika Provencher in Trois-Rivières, Que.
WATCH BELOW: Cedrika Provencher: Search for clues resumes
The suit claims that provincial police investigators adopted “tunnel vision” and carried out searches and seizures that were illegal, abusive or granted on the basis of a false or misleading information.
Last October, a Quebec court judge acquitted Bettez on the child pornography charges and invalidated the warrants used to gather evidence in the case.
WATCH BELOW: Quebec man arrested on child porn charges linked to unsolved child abduction case
Provincial police would not comment on the lawsuit, which alleges they exploited the media and the justice system with a singular goal of linking the Bettez name to the girl’s disappearance and murder.
To date, there have been no arrests in the disappearance and slaying of Cedrika, whose remains were found in 2015.
Bettez family members are not speaking to media but say their goal in seeking $9,454,500 in compensatory damages and $1 million in punitive damages is to ensure police are held accountable.