Over the weekend, interim CEO of Youth Education in the Arts (YEA) and The Cadets Drum and Bugle Corps Sean King was suspended after accusations surfaced regarding his knowledge of the sexual assault and harassment allegedly committed by former executive director George Hopkins.
The initial investigation released last week contained the accusations of nine women, with two additional women coming forward on Thursday. One of the two recent accusers told the Philadelphia Inquirer that when she turned to King for help, he dismissed her, saying “that’s just how George is.”
King issued a statement in response: “I never received an allegation. Ever. Had someone brought that to me, I would have reported it.” The newly appointed board of directors will manage the governance and operations until completing the investigation into King.
On Friday, Drum Corps International posted on its website that all YEA performing groups will be on probation for summer participation until the organization can show a comprehensive new plan for the prevention and reporting of sexual assault and harassment, hires an independent compliance officer, and present a financial accountability plan to ensure they can complete the summer tour.
Also, a drum corps fan provided to the newspaper his message board posts from 2003 claiming he directly contacted DCI CEO Dan Acheson about Hopkins, but was ignored for not having sufficient evidence. Acheson denies any memory of the conversation.
On Monday morning, YEA announced the hiring of Chicago-based law firm Franczek Radelet to complete a comprehensive and independent evaluation of the allegations and the entire organization. Read the statement below:
The newly-constituted board of directors of Youth Education in the Arts (YEA!) has retained the Chicago law firm of Franczek Radelet to conduct a prompt, thorough and impartial investigation of the entire YEA! organization in the wake of recent allegations centered on sexual misconduct and workplace harassment.
- Has a clear explanation of prohibited conduct
- Has made assurances that employees who make complaints of harassment or provide information related to such complaints will be protected against retaliation
- Has a clearly described complaint process that provides accessible avenues of complaint
- Will protect the confidentiality of harassment complaints to the extent possible
- Has a complaint process that provides a prompt, thorough, and impartial investigation
- Is taking Interim measures during the investigation, where warranted.
- Will take immediate and appropriate corrective action when it determines that harassment has occurred