Opinion: Curtis should launch outside investigation into sexual-assault claims against former faculty member

Posted on: August 8, 2019

“Members of the community that treasures and supports Philadelphia’s Curtis Institute of Music were stunned by The Inquirer’s recent story about former student Lara St. John’s long-standing sexual-assault allegations against her late violin teacher Jascha Brodsky … while she was enrolled at Curtis in the 1980s,” writes the editorial board of the Philadelphia Inquirer on Monday (8/5). “St. John … claimed school officials [reacted] dismissively … when she informed them of what happened not long after the alleged incidents…. Curtis [recently emailed] alumni, students, and others seeking to silence discussion about it…. Curtis CEO Roberto Diaz apologized for the loss of ‘trust’ [the email] engendered. On Friday, he … announced the establishment of a hotline for reporting inappropriate behavior…. St. John and four former students who claim Brodsky pursued them romantically have offered detailed accounts of behavior … inappropriate today for an adult teacher of vulnerable young or underage students…. An official ‘mistakes-were-made’ approach and vague statements … are not an answer. A credible and qualified professional from outside Curtis … ought to take an unsparing look at what if anything happened, and why, and how any new allegations of this type ought to be handled, and prevented from happening again.”

The League of American Orchestras encourages its members to follow best practices in preventing sexual misconduct and in responding to claims. Find League resources for harassment prevention and response in the orchestral workplace here.

Posted August 8, 2019