The Coterie opened the investigation last year after multiple allegations of sexual misconduct by Jeff Church, the Coterie Theatre’s former producing artistic director.
The human resources firm that handled the investigation looked at documents, social media, and interviewed 35 witnesses, according to a statement from the Coterie’s Board of Directors. Some of the interviews included people who said they were victims of Church’s conduct.
Out of respect for the privacy of witnesses who asked to remain anonymous, The Coterie is not broadly releasing the report. However, in the interest of providing the public with as much information as possible, The Coterie believes it is important to share the findings of the investigation.The Coterie Theater’s statement
According to the Theater’s Board of Directors, the investigation focused on several different claims.
Investigators determined Church engaged in nonconsensual sexual acts against adults on multiple occasions. The encounters happened mostly at private gatherings at his homes.
Investigators did not find any evidence that any of the alleged misconduct took place at The Coterie Theater or events sponsored by the theater, according to the board of directors.
It was determined that Church misused The Coterie’s Instagram account to have inappropriate conversations with a consenting adult. At least one youth actor viewed the conversation, according to the investigation.
Investigators did not find evidence to corroborate any claims of Church sexually assaulting children. They also said there is no evidence that past or current Coterie Board members knew of the allegations of sexual misconduct against Church.
While several witnesses reported they never saw Church engaging in inappropriate behavior, investigators found the witnesses who reported claims against the theatre’s former artistic director to be credible.
We have a tremendous amount of empathy for the victims of these heinous actions. We want to thank all of those who came forward to share their very personal and painful stories. It took a great deal of courage. Their cooperation was vital in helping us gain a broader understanding, which will in turn help us maintain a positive and nurturing environment at The Coterie for generations to come.Theresa Stoker, Coterie Board President statement
Investigators noted they were not able to interview two people with critical information about the claims.
Former Coterie executive director Joette Pelster died of natural causes in November. Church died in December after the accusations against him became public.
The Coterie Board recently named Jonathan Thomas as the theatre’s managing director and Heidi Van as interim producing artistic director.
“It certainly does have an impact,” Thomas said. “I wouldn’t say overall that it’s going to have a negative impact as long as we continue to be diligent in making sure that everyone is safe. What we hope is that this process has been a part of their healing and are of course empathetic to them and are open to conversation with them.”