Bad Optics, Part MMLCCXIV

The Children’s Theater Company is suing a sexual predator…

…wait. No. Let me read that again. I’ll add emphasis:

The Children’s Theatre Company has begun proceedings to collect close to $300,000 from a former student who was sexually assaulted by a staff member.

Huh. Yep. I read it wrong. The Children’s Theater Company has filed suit against someone one of their staffers sexually abused.

And they seem to be juuuuuust fine with it:

Actor and theater artist Laura Stearns is one of 17 people who filed civil suits against the Children’s Theatre Company for abuse they suffered as children while students in the theater company’s school. Stearns’ case was the first to go before a jury.
She claimed the company was negligent in hiring Jason McLean, the actor and teacher who raped her at his home in 1983.
A Hennepin County jury found the theater company “generally negligent” during the time period leading up to her assault, but not specifically negligent for hiring McLean. The jury decided that McLean, not the theater, should pay Stearns $3.68 million in damages.
But McLean fled to Mexico two years ago, taking his cash with him. It’s unlikely Stearns will see any money.
Last Friday, the theater company filed an application for “taxation of costs.” That’s what happens when the winner of a lawsuit asks the loser to pay for costs associated with the lawsuit, not including legal fees. The application listed $295,000 in expenses, including more than $214,000 for an expert witness.
The Children’s Theatre declined requests for an interview for this story. But in a written statement, management stressed it was not asking Stearns to pay the total sum, but simply presenting a comprehensive list of costs and leaving to the court the question of how much Stearns should pay.
Stearns’ attorney, Molly Burke, pointed out that filing for taxation of costs is optional; the Children’s Theatre didn’t have to do it.

No word whether the proudly “progressive” CTC has aroused the ire of #MeToo yet.

20 thoughts on “Bad Optics, Part MMLCCXIV

  1. What emerges if you take any time to dig into the situation, is that the late unlamented John Clark Donohue, Jason McLean, and nearly a dozen other staff and performers at the CTC in the 70s and 80s ran the place like a commercial trout pond. Because CTC(Moppets as was) was founded by the previously convicted JCD in the umbra of MIA and MCAD it was an open secret of the late 70s that personnel from all 3 organizations took part in the abuse. JCD was convicted of raping 3 young boys and sentenced to 10 months in the Hennepin County Workhouse and CTC publicly washed their hands and said that now the one bad apple is gone we are as pure as Caesar’s wife. Many in the Mpls theater community believe that CTC and JCD got off so lightly because some political heavy hitters were and are still involved, thats why “taxation of cost” motion.

  2. If the CTC had been a for profit business instead of a 501(c)(3) then the original jury would’ve found them to be guilty as sin along with the actual abuser. Here’s hoping that the CTC gets raked over the coals during the appeal.

  3. History recounts that creatives seem often to have underlying psychological issues. They are prone to substance abuse, sexual perversions, depression & etc. Some deal effectively with their problems, some succumb, others prey.

    There was a recent documentary that recounted the epidemic of pedophiles and pederasts in positions of power in Hollywood. You’d have to be nuts to let your kid go there without the constant vigilance of a protector.

    Unlike priests, Scout leaders, day camp councilors and others, I don’t think most people working in creative environments specifically gravitate to the arts in order to feed their sexual perversions, but one would certainly be wise to have a care when sending a youngster to a theater troupe designed for children and led by adults.

    Of course, it’s the current year. We have lunatic parents who enthusiastically trot their shorties down to the local library to sit in a Trannies lap, so maybe ensuring little Johnny has plenty of condoms in his pocket is the best we can hope for.

  4. Regarding the acting professions, it’s worth noting that Maureen O’Hara complained bitterly about the “casting couch” in 1945, threatening to quit acting altogether, and Shirley Temple’s parents were always on the set–they basically homeschooled her.

    And it’s unspeakable to think that this theater is suing one of the victims of their incompetence. Just.plain.unspeakable.

  5. My only consolation, and its admittedly a significant part of why Im religious is that Stearns and whoever decided to basically rape the victim a second time, this time finacially, will have to answer for it in the next life and will have a special place in hell. Because as this story proves, there is very rarely justice in this world.

  6. Uhh, isn’t it the extremist right-wing, meaning you, who advocate for having those who bring frivolous lawsuits pay attorney fees should they lose?

    Her abuse isn’t frivolous, but her suit was clearly deemed to be wrongly filed against the theatre. You do recommend that the loser pays otherwise, so your complaint here looks like little other than convenient bitching.

    Now, I don’t think the company should do anything against Ms. Stearns. She was assaulted on their property, they have insurance (without doubt) which coves this sort of cost, and you should bear in mind it may be their insurance carrier compelling them to make the request, but good taste and good conscience says they should not pursue her.

    So, which way is it, Mitch? Is it that you should NOT pursue those who file suit against the “deepest pockets” when they lose, or should you? Or is it, like so many things for the right-wing, it depends upon whose ox is being gored? Perhaps the right needs to find some moral consistency here. I think companies which are sued should NOT be pursuing recovery from the plaintiffs and this very case is emblematic. The circumstances are often devastating or heartwrenching, and good character says leave it be.

  7. Well peev you’re further off base than usual – nothing you allege about the case or the victims motives is factual. I know you view these sorts of things as a tremendous imposition but if you’re going to build a strawman to pummel its more effective if you build him with some semblance of veracity instead of making him up out of thin air as you have in this instance.
    go back, do some research, and give it another try.

  8. Pen is so far left he thinks Mitches borderline #NeverTrump blog is far right wing. Id call it almost moderate by today’s standards

  9. Got a chuckle outta those two comments, PoD. Nice. And Mac, as solid a response as ever.

  10. Regarding “loser pays” advocacy, nice straw man, Peev, but as actually used, “loser pays” means that a person who brings a frivolous case before the court gets to pay, not that the person who wins everything but damages gets to pay.

    Let’s all send notes encouraging the legislature to de-fund Children’s Theatre Company. Let’s hit them where it hurts.

  11. Peevee is a good soldier. Provides cover whatever the debauchery his clan commits.

    From child buggery to bloody infanticide, teh little Peevee stands strong against any and all condemnations civilized society can muster.

    It’s a pity he doesnt have a law degree. Kermit Gosnell might not be a free man, but at least he would have gone to prison feeling like a hero.

  12. Was it the reference to Peevee’s approval of child bvggery or bloody inf@nticide that got me moderated?

  13. The insurance company (if their is one) can’t “make” you sue, though on their Facebook page CTC makes that claim. All they can do is refuse to pay if you don’t sue. This is the kind of decision that is made by completely out of touch directors. They probably think that it’s bad optics not to sue (it would make their books look bad to potential donors/investors).
    Peeve made at least two other errors of fact in his truly pitiful comment: Her suit against CTC was not deemed to be frivolous, and the girl was not assaulted on CTC property.
    Peev clearly did not actually read the article he was commenting on. In it, the writer states that the CTC was found to be generally negligent in its operations. The word “frivolous” does not appear in the article.
    “Children’s Theatre management said it’s taking this action only because Stearns and her legal team have filed motions seeking to overturn the original verdict and hold a new trial.”
    So it is legal tit-for-tat. The CTC management chose to do this as part of a strategy to minimize its exposure to loss.
    Really crappy work on the part of the Peevster.

  14. Was it the reference to Peevee’s approval of child bvggery or bloody inf@nticide that got me moderated?

    To quote Grandpa Simpson Swiftee Id say a little from column A and a little from column B.

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