Attorney Jeff Anderson announces that CTC has settled with all remaining litigants.
Minneapolis Star Tribune reporting on Jason McLean’s return to California.
SFGate in California reports that Jason McLean returned to his Oakland Bar in September, fired all employees and plans to reopen with new staff.
Several media article of note: Marianne Combs of Minnesota Public Radio today released the second of a six-part series (“Innocence Lost”) covering the story.
Last week(10/4/19) City Pages’ cover story published last week by Susan Du also went in depth into the story.
A new website was created by former students of CTC, to share the stories of what the organization was like.
Neighborhood Bridges Teaching Artists publish letter to CTC admin.
CTC announced yesterday a 7th settlement in the most current case which had been scheduled to go to trial in October. To our knowledge, no dates have yet been set for the remaining trials.
From the most recent plaintiff to settle with CTC:
“While CTC, the board, their numerous attorneys and law firms may have followed the letter of the law, it is my opinion and experience that they did not honor the spirit of the law that is in place to assist victims of trauma; nor the process of restoration.
The callous and calculated way they legally made their way through the system left me with more pain than I began with.
If something was legal, they took full advantage – stalling or proceeding – as the law allowed, despite knowing the pain it would do to me.
I think they handled the process badly. I felt I had little way to turn, if any. I hope they treat the other victims better.
CTC has a fundraising gala Saturday evening. I intend to support the protestors either in spirit or in person, and may speak out in person, at some time in the future.”
We are continuing to call upon CTC to commit to using a legal strategy that prioritizes compassionate and humane treatment of survivors.
While we are drafting a more detailed reply to the recent statement, here is an initial response:
Dear Todd, Peter and Kim:
We are pleased that Children’s Theatre Company has announced they will adopt some of the recommendations of CTC Artists and Allies. Although short on details, this is a positive step for the survivors and the community, and represents a significant departure from the theatre’s stance at the beginning of the summer. We continue to listen to and work with survivors, and our work will move forward with their interests as the highest good.
Two important items are unaddressed.
- We asked that CTC reorient its legal strategy to prioritize compassionate and humane treatment of survivors. In light of potential trials involving victims who have not negotiated settlements with the theatre, we ask CTC to explain what humane legal treatment looks like.
- The community council convened by Sha Cage and Ricardo Levins Morales will soon be holding the last of its three scheduled meetings. It is imperative that the work of this group continue. We challenge CTC leadership to remain accountable by continuing to participate in this open, community-led process.
CTC Artists and Allies
CTC leadership, including for the first time Board Chair Todd Noteboom, sent the following letter to CTC Teaching Artists:
Dear CTC Teaching Artists,
We are gratified to announce the recent settlements of suits brought against Children’s Theatre Company by six individuals who were sexually abused by the former artistic director and 2 former employees, in the 1970’s. The legal process for other plaintiffs is ongoing and we will continue to work toward resolutions that provide healing and justice.
In the meantime, earlier this month we at Children’s Theatre Company issued a statement—published concurrently with other Twin Cities performing arts leaders—affirming our commitment to join with the artistic community to combat and redress sexual assault and child abuse at CTC and in all the artistic institutions of our greater community.
A theatre’s purpose is to serve its community. Not only does the CTC of today and tomorrow have no place for abuse of any kind, we pledge to uphold the values of our community to the highest standard.
Like so many of you, we choose to work at and serve CTC because of our love of theatre and to help foster that same connection in the children of our community—to spark joy through art and performance. Any kind of abuse of children is abhorrent and goes against our core values.
To all of our artists, teaching artists, and staff at CTC: We reaffirm to you our commitment to address these historic wrongs, and are working on a significant list of action items both for now and the future. While some of our planned actions cannot be taken until legal proceedings conclude, others can and will begin immediately.
Here are just a few of our upcoming actions and events:
- Training and education To begin, we are enhancing our Adult Youth Engagement Policy training to include acknowledgement of the sexual abuse in the 1970s and 1980s by employees, as well as the changes CTC has made, as context for all our current employees and volunteers. We will also reinforce how to intervene and report any known or suspected abuse as well as provide a significant list of supplementary resources. All current and new CTC staff and volunteers will be given an annual training that puts our child safety practices in historical context. Child actors and parents of child actors will also be made aware of this history when reviewing CTC policies, and will be given additional resources explaining how they can also report known or suspected abuse. The full Adult Youth Engagement Policy will be made available on our website. We plan to continue to strengthen it in every way possible, and share it as broadly as possible, because we believe every theatre should have access to these or similar policies.
- A community council assembled by theatre artist Shá Cage, and artist and community organizer Ricardo Levins Morales, has begun a discussion of ways CTC and the community can move forward to healing and justice. CTC leadership is part of this council and we welcome the opportunity to work together with the community, which will share the outcomes and action steps that arise from these conversations.
- An open forum, which invites the community to a conversation with CTC leadership, including members of its Board, will be held on September 16 from 5-7 p.m. at CTC. We hope that concerned members of our community will join us at this forum, where, in dialogue, we can discuss additional ways that CTC can help community healing and begin the critical work of rebuilding. Please RSVP by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
- A three-part speakers series will be presented this season featuring national voices focused on the prevention of child abuse, survivor support, and ways the arts can help in healing trauma. Our goal is to offer information, resources and ideas to advance the work happening in our community. Dates and details will be forthcoming.
To those survivors who have shared their stories with us: We are so profoundly sorry. Your courage in sharing your abuse has challenged us to think more creatively about the strategies by which we can support and honor you.
You have inspired other survivors of sexual abuse to share their experiences with all of us. Your voices have brought this issue to the fore, and our community has been enlightened and forever changed as a result.
You have also inspired us. CTC is committed to establishing a Survivor Fund once the legal cases are all settled. This fund will represent one aspect of a new legacy for CTC—one that supports and honors survivors as well as the broader community for many years to come. Our vision for this fund is communal, survivor-centered, and restorative. We want to be thoughtful and inclusive, so we invite survivors and all members of the community to contribute your ideas to email@example.com.
We are also committed to working with community leaders and practitioners who already engage in this work. Three weeks ago, CTC presented a check for $17,077 to EmpowerSurvivors, an organization that provides direct healing support and education for survivors of childhood sexual abuse and trauma. The donation is equivalent to a sold-out performance on June 16th of Matilda. We will continue exploring partnerships with organizations whose missions support survivors of sexual abuse as well as the prevention of child abuse. Our Director of Community Partnerships and Inclusion will be developing these over the Fall.
We understand that it is not enough to unequivocally condemn child abuse today. We have to commit to healing and long-term growth, and we recognize we cannot do it alone.
We value the survivors whose stories help shape our actions.
We value the artists, theatre artists, and staff who will help guide us.
We value the organizations and institutions who are already committed to healing and justice, whose partnership will teach us.
We value our community who supports and encourages us.
We, at all levels of the organization, honor and are humbled by the strength, courage, and perseverance of those who have survived this or any kind of abuse.
We value your ideas, thoughts, comments, and questions. Please share them with us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Todd Noteboom Peter Brosius Kimberly Motes
Chair, Board of Directors Artistic Director Managing Director
We are pleased to report to you all that our statement has been officially endorsed by both MNCASA, the statewide coalition of sexual assault advocacy organizations, and MCBW, the statewide coalition of battered women’s advocacy organizations. Together, these two coalitions represent about 200 advocacy programs in Minnesota, who do the hard work of serving victims and survivors of sexual and domestic abuse, and are accountable to victims and survivors on a grassroots level.
After we issued our statement, we received the following from CTC Artistic Director Peter Brosius and Executive Director Kim Motes:
Dear CTC Teaching Artists,
Yesterday’s public call to action, demanding that CTC become far more proactive in addressing the ongoing toll stemming from the unconscionable acts of former CTC employees in the 1970’s and early 1980’s, gave us a deeper and clear understanding of the need in the community for us to do more now.
We agree. We deeply respect the artistic community, and want to take you up on the challenge — wholeheartedly.
For 35 years, CTC has lived in a state of profound regret over what happened in the 1970’s and early 1980’s. We have done everything we possibly could to change our culture into one that protects and respects children today, but we clearly have not recognized how much pain remains, unresolved, for survivors, the artistic community and the community-at-large. And we know we have not done enough. We want to do, and will do, more.
We want to honor survivors by listening more, learning more and respecting them more. We are committed to finding ways to engage in true restorative and transformative justice, meaning that we find innovative ways to transform despair, anger and pain into a higher form of justice, engagement, and communication. Over the summer, we plan to begin a series of conversations and collaborations with the community with justice in mind. We look forward to your participation and are committed to beginning this critical work both on our own and together.
Peter and Kim
Here is our response:
Dear Peter and Kim:
Thank you for your rapid response to our letter. In your letter we are beginning to hear a shift in language around listening deeper.
At this point, however, there is no promise of action or commitment to shifting the culture at CTC.
We look forward to hearing about tangible commitments you will be making to respond to your community. In the meantime, we will continue to educate, organize, and build momentum around the community values we seek to uphold at CTC.
CTC Artists and Allies