The message below was shared with the Boston Philharmonic community on October 16, 2018, regarding recent events at the Boston Philharmonic.
Dear Boston Philharmonic Community,
We are writing regarding two disturbing incidents involving the BPO and our youth orchestra (BPYO) that have recently been the subject of local media attention.
As you may have already seen, David St. George, an artistic advisor to the BPYO, was arrested on September 25 and charged with receipt and possession of child pornography. We suspended Mr. St. George without pay as soon as we were made aware of his alleged activities, and we terminated his employment the very next day.
In the days that followed, we launched an internal investigation to determine whether any of our administrators, staff, or orchestra members had knowledge of inappropriate behavior involving Mr. St. George. The investigation confirmed that his activities were not known to anyone in our organization. In addition, we do not have evidence to suggest that his behavior involved any of our musicians or staff.
Over the last two weeks we have met with our staff and BPYO and BPO members to discuss this situation, our response, and necessary actions going forward. We are pleased to report that these meetings and conversations have strengthened our community dialogue.
In the wake of this arrest, however, we received a separate report that another employee allegedly sent inappropriate text messages to several members of the youth orchestra. We immediately investigated and suspended the employee without pay, and the employee subsequently resigned.
In light of these two troubling events, we have engaged the services of an outside investigator to perform an impartial, full review of our organization. This investigation is led by Scott Roberts, a partner at the law firm of Hirsch Roberts Weinstein. He is examining these situations and the BPO as a whole to help us gain a greater understanding of any underlying issues impacting our community.
The BPO management and board consistently review our policies and procedures to ensure they reflect best practices for the health and safety of our community. In fact, we recently introduced and distributed an employee handbook to the staff and issued an organization-wide Harassment Prevention Policy and Whistleblower Policy to all of our musicians and staff. Both of these policies clearly outline healthy behavior and procedures for reporting misconduct.
In addition, we make it a point to ensure that all BPO administrative, musical, and tour staff (including volunteers) pass Criminal Offender Record Information (CORI) checks. BPO staff and volunteers must also adhere to our internal policies and professional standards, and any activities that compromise our unequivocal commitment to the safety of our students will not be tolerated.
As part of our ongoing commitment to a stronger, safer, and more transparent community, you should know that we will require all staff to participate in educational programming and mandatory training on workplace harassment and related topics, including what constitutes acceptable and appropriate interaction. We are also in the process of establishing regular forums for providing feedback, as it has been incredibly helpful to hear from our community in open and honest settings.
Our greatest responsibility is and always will be the safety, security, and well-being of all of our community members, particularly those who rely on us to teach, nurture, and inspire their musical pursuits.
We would not be the organization that we are today without your support. Thank you for all that you do to help us grow and strengthen our musical community.