YetAnotherConcernedParent: I used much material from the sentencing memorandum in my first piece on von Metzke's three-year sentence. Best, Don Bauder
[Didn't the organization do its homework on someone applying for a position? I would think that is critical for an organization dealing with young people.]
Don, this is a critical question that needs to be answered by every local children's theatre group. Junior Theatre's history on this topic is long. One of their higher-level in-house Directors was fired 10 years ago for exposing JT students to narcotics at one of their satellites in San Diego county. After having been fired, pornography was found on the Director's computer at JT. (Not child pornography, to be clear, but this was in the JT office where students frequented.)
If this individual was now working on a production with young students at another local children's theatre - and had been recently hired for numerous productions in Coronado (again, including children) - wouldn't you think that none of these organizations do their homework on someone applying for a position? The problem of responsible handling of child actors certainly appears to start with SDJT, but this may be (should be) a more pervasive concern across children's theatre in San Diego in general.
erniegrubenmeyer: Any institution dealing with young people should look into the backgrounds of those being hired. Any untoward behavior with young people, especially sexual exploitation, should go into a computerized data base. Best, Don Bauder
Formerstudent: I have heard about, but can't validify, the alleged events of the last three people on your list. Interesting that, as alleged, JT staff just had its first mandated reporter training in over a decade. One person says there was no training for 20 years, another says no training for 7 years, which was the full time she worked there. This kind of training should be continuous. Best, Don Bauder
YetAnotherConcernedParent. Yes, it makes interesting reading, but it may make one depressed. Note how, as is usual, von Metzke starts out denying everything, but finally begins admitting what happened. Remember, this is only one case -- Jane Doe 1. Jane Doe 2 refused to speak with police, and so only the Doe 1 case was used in the prosecution. Best, Don Bauder
I didn't think it could get any worse, but it did--it's truly tragic if even one of these allegations is true, let alone the entire scope of reported misconduct. Thank you for your continuing work on this, Don Bauder.
EngineerBella: Some statements by young people and parents may turn out to be somewhat off base, but the pattern of JT's staff and board appears to be established. And that cries out for an immediate house-cleaning. Best, Don Bauder
jennvalenti: Perhaps I spoke too soon. If so, mea culpa. Best, Don Bauder
Really? Knowing children are being abused and doing nothing is not a crime? I think it is for sure.
Bmulvany: OK, make that mea maxima culpa. Best, Don Bauder
I am posting on behalf of someone who is having trouble logging into the system. Their user name is reym.
I have been monitoring this situation from the east coast and want to thank Matt Valenti and Don Bauder for their vigilance in exposing this case of child abuse on a major level.
Good parents (like the ones in this San Diego community) want their children to creatively thrive in a safe environment. They believed that this JT was such an environment. Little did they realize (until recently) that their precious children would be exposed to predators and child abusers and that the JT Board of Directors who were in place to provide a safe haven for their children were at best "asleep at the wheel" or at worse implicit in covering up abuses committed by some of their own and by others that worked for them.
It would be a real travesty of justice if the Attorney General's office (who has been made aware of the situation at this JT) continues to ignore this matter and puts other cases ahead of a known child abuse and child endangerment case at JT.
jennvalenti: But remember that the state AG's office let the former CPUC head, Mike Peevey, off the hook by sitting on the case until the statute of limitations had run out. That AG is now a U.S. senator. Best, Don Bauder
Maybe the good o'l boy system won't work in this instance.
Murphyjunk: I think you are right. Best, Don Bauder
Not only the Ca Attorney General received the 110 page complaint. San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer and City Attorney Mara Elliott have also received the complaint.
It might be a good idea to start calling or emailing their offices asking if they are doing anything to look into the affairs (perhaps a poor choice of words) at Junior Theatre.
Are they concerned about the safety of the children at Junior Theatre?
They've had the complaint for a couple of months.
Have they read it? Do they care? Are they more concerned about their image and affiliations with SDJT Board of Trustee members and attorneys representing the board to speak up? How would they feel if this was their daughter? Are other children not important/not their concern?
Does Mayor Faulconer feel the expansion of the SD Convention Center is more important than saving a 70 year institution in Balboa Park? Is Mayor Faulconer's focus on the Convention Center more important than the safety of children at Junior Theatre?
Has our City Attorney, Mara Elliott bothered to speak to the two attorneys in her office whom are on the SDJT Board of Trustees? They were there when the 2 whistle-blowers were fired from Junior Theatre last summer. Did they know about Eric von Metzke behavior?
I'm sure many others have their own questions. I urge them to take a moment to contact the Mayor (619) 236-6330, [email protected] and the City Attorney (619) 236-6220, [email protected], voice their concerns and ask for answers.
Thank you Don for all your hard work
Best, Linda Turner
Julie Brennan: Yes, the original position of the board and administration was that a few "noisy parents" were causing trouble and would wreck JT. Now, it is clear that those "noisy parents" were trying to save JT, and it was the board and administration that were going to ruin it through a massive coverup. Best, Don Bauder
Ednam: Yes, the board and administration have been trying to block any objective investigation. (There was one study that appears to have been an inside job.)
When I first took up this story earlier this year, management's attitude was that Valenti was a troublemaker, not to be trusted. Ha! Best, Don Bauder
The controversies surrounding Junior Theatre for the past year are causing irreparable harm to the organization. So many people have asked for an independent investigation of the Board and their actions. If the Board had the organization's best interests in mind they would not be stonewalling the very families which fund the theatre.
It is time for transparency and most likely a big change for JT.
Our family, like so many others, have chosen a new theater company to feel safe at, support financially and call home. We won't be back until things change.
ColleenB: I wonder how many people did the right thing, as you did. And did these actions hurt the finances of JT? Best, Don Bauder