This is a painful moment for all those who care about The Cadets and Youth Education in the Arts. Today a newspaper published multiple allegations of sexual misconduct on the part of the organization’s CEO, George Hopkins. The anguish conveyed wasn’t missed. It was difficult reading for all.
George has resigned. Though he denies the allegations, he believes stepping aside is in the best interest of the organization. We agree. His resignation is effective immediately.
The best thing YEA! can do now is move forward through programs like The Cadets, Cadets2, USBands and Xcape. We have a full schedule and intend to keep it. Sean King, a fixture in the YEA! office and a veteran leader of so many of its programs, will be acting as CEO in the interim. There will be further appointments in the days to come. And as we proceed, this board and our staff will make certain our workplace and our programs provide a safe environment for all.
This situation began in January, when board members received an email demanding that we remove the CEO of YEA! or see allegations of misconduct published in the press. It was the first time any such allegations were communicated to the board. From the beginning, the board took the matter seriously and engaged a law firm to investigate the anonymous claims.
The investigation was conducted professionally and vigorously. Unfortunately, there was no cooperation at all from anyone making those accusations. Despite our pleas for cooperation, we were told so long as George remained in his role, no one would allow herself to be interviewed or reveal any facts that might confirm the allegations. No responsible board of directors can take action based solely on anonymous allegations. One of the many disappointments in this regrettable situation is third parties who claimed specific knowledge of these allegations failed to assist in bringing this to a proper resolution, offering instead to bury those same allegations if the board took preemptive action. The investigation proceeded anyway.
Today was difficult for everyone. We expect tomorrow to be better. The Cadets will have their April camp this weekend as planned. More music will be learned. More progress will be made on the way to another great summer. USBands has outstanding shows planned for the fall. The dancing at Xcape won’t stop. This board is committed to fulfilling the organization’s mission on behalf of the thousands of young women and men it serves. We hope you will help us.