Minneapolis' Children's Theatre Company Responds Over Call To Boycott From Victim of Sexual Assault
Minneapolis' Children's Theatre Company has responded to a call for a boycott of the company after their lawyer asked a judge to award them $234,000 in legal costs from Laura Stearns Adams, who was a student at the company and sexually abused by an employee there in 1983.
In total 17 people came forward regarding past abuses that occurred while students at the CTC.
Stearns took to Facebook to write: "It is the last straw for me. I know that these kinds of cases are very much in the hands of the lawyers. This is their arena. So I have sat patiently waiting to see how CTC's current administration would chose to respond to all of this. What the survivors of CTC want is for them to own their part. To apologize. Not say how sorry they are for what happened to us and wish us well, but to publicly own the fact that their very existence as an institution today is because the well being and safety of the students was sacrificed for the INSTITUTION ITSELF! They would not EXIST if the kids hadn't been silenced. If the right thing was done back in the 1980's, when all of the shit hit the fan, the theater would have gone under. Instead, the board of directors and administration saved the theater and vilified the children who came forward at the time, saving the theater and their reputation, which never deserved to be saved. The BCA investigator who testified at my trial referred to the place as "a cesspool". My lawyer says that in the 35+ years he has been doing this work, he has NEVER seen anything like what they have found through their investigation. They should have gone down. They didn't. They survived. Those of us who were assaulted there still have nightmares. CTC needs to help those that were harmed, take a real stand, not deny their culpability and put "policies" in place, but take some damn initiative to make things better for children all over! Stop hiding from the past! They want to own their legacy of 50+ years, OWN ALL OF IT!!!
I have taken the high road through all of this, trying to give CTC a chance to do the right thing, not wanting to make things ugly because I believe healing happens in the light and we don't need more discourse. But this personal attack on me is enough evidence for me to take a different kind of stand. I ask that you not buy tickets, send your kids to their classes, audition for their shows, accept jobs or support them in any way until they do the right thing by the survivors. If you work there, ask yourself if you want to work for an organization that would do this to the survivor of sexual assault who brought the truth to light. Other theatre companies, make a point of reaching out to employees of CTC and offer them work so they have other options around town. To the other theater owners, artistic directors and administrators, board of director members around town, call on CTC to do the right thing. Many of you are my friends. Do you think this is right? If you are okay with it, ask yourself if you would be okay with it if I were your daughter."
Today the CTC released an official statement in the form of a video response.
"We hear you, we believe you, we believed you since your first press conference when we, the CTC leaders of today learned what happened to you as students of CTC. Those former employees who abused you do not represent who we are today and what we stand for."
"These were terrible offenses and those who committed them should be help accountable. We are grateful for Ms. Stearns' and the other survivors courage in bringing your truth on this important and tragic issue in our past."
"Last week we failed in our commitment to be empathetic and respectful in our handling of our legal obligations. We a court filing go froward without thinking about how it might feel from your perspective. That was our mistake and we want to set it right."
The theatre notes in the video they will no longer be seeking legal costs from Ms. Stearns. This is a follow up to a Facebook post they posted on Sunday outlining their reasons for pursuing legal costs.
"Laura's decisions and her attorney's legal strategies, however, also impose obligations on us. The hearing last week is one such example. Minnesota law makes clear that the prevailing party 'shall be' awarded its costs by the court. And CTC was the prevailing party on all counts by every measure, just as Laura was the prevailing party against McLean. To be clear, procedurally we are not at a point where the Theatre has asked Laura to pay its costs. In fact, last week our attorney did NOT ask for a judgement against Laura but instead asked the court to determine what the proper cost is in our case. Any decision about if we would seek to recover those costs from Laura is for a later point in this ongoing process. We hope fervently that we never get to the point of having to make such a decision."
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