As the premiere of the horror flick Jeepers Creepers 3 approached in September 2017, many posted messages on social media to remind potential moviegoers about director Victor Salva’s criminal history:
Salva was convicted in 1988 on charges related to the sexual molestation of 12-year-old actor Nathan Forrest Winters during the filming of his movie Clownhouse. Salva served 15 months in prison and finished his parole in 1992. The Associated Press reported at the time:
Salva confessed to having oral sex with Winters in 1987 while directing him in “Clownhouse,” a low-budget horror film about three boys terrorized by circus clowns. Salva, sentenced to three years in state prison, served 15 months and completed parole in 1992.
Salva’s criminal history was first brought to light before the release of his 1995 movie Powder when Winters and his friends protested the movie. Winters said that he couldn’t believe that Disney would work with a child molester:
Victor Salva, a former child-care worker who impressed Hollywood filmmakers with his early cinematic work, was sentenced to three years in state prison in 1988 for molesting a 12-year-old boy who had acted in two of his films. Salva videotaped one of the encounters.
The revelations came as the now 20-year-old victim, Nathan Winters of Concord, Calif., picketed a screening of “Powder” on Monday night in Westwood.
Winters passed out leaflets urging the public to boycott the movie and said his family and friends would continue protesting after the film debuts Friday on more than 1,500 screens nationwide.
Winters said he was “in awe” that Disney would even make a movie with Salva.
“I can’t believe [Salva] is allowed to work with children again,” Winters said. “He should not be allowed around children ever again.”
At the time, Salva released a statement saying “How deeply I regret my actions.” It continued:
I paid for my mistakes dearly. Now, nearly 10 years later, I am excited about my work as a film maker and look forward to continuing to make a positive contribution to our society.
Caravan Pictures, the company that made Powder for Disney, also released a statement:
“He paid for his crime, he paid his debt to society,” said Roger Birnbaum, whose Caravan Pictures made “Powder” for Disney and reportedly didn’t know of Salva’s record until the film was midway through production. “What happened eight years ago has nothing to do with this movie.”
More recently, Salva’s past hindered the casting of Jeepers Creepers 3 when the web site Breakdown Services removed the casting call for a 13-year-old character (to be played by an 18-year-old) upon learning of Salva’s crime.
Winters never starred in another movie.
Welkos, Robert. “Disney Movie’s Director a Convicted Child Molester.”
LA Times. 25 October 1995.
Guthmann, Edward. “Concord Molest Victim Confronts `Powder’ Director / Actor protests at Disney Screening.”
SF Gate. 25 October 1995.
Goldstein, Patrick. “Victor Salva’s Horror Stories.”
LA Times. 11 June 2006.