Allentown Cadets board resigns amid allegations against ex-drum corps director

 

The organization that oversees Allentown's famed Cadets Drum and Bugle Corps. has taken further action after sexual misconduct allegations against its former director.

Youth Education in the Arts (YEA!) announced its current board of directors has resigned, effective immediately.

It comes after nine women came forward in a Philadelphia Inquirer article last week accusing former YEA CEO George Hopkins of sexual misconduct dating back to 1980.

The YEA issued a new statement Wednesday morning, saying a new board and officers have taken over.

It says the new board has "two specific objectives: first and foremost, to ensure the safety of the members, volunteers, staff, and participants of YEA!; and to provide oversight and governance of the organization."

Doug Rutherford has taken over as Chairman of the Board.

"The recent allegations that have come to light are very disturbing and shocking. We are committed to an environment free from all forms of coercion and harassment. YEA! views sexual harassment, assault or aggression in any form as unacceptable; these behaviors will not be tolerated," Rutherford said in the YEA's statement.

The organization also said it is working with RAINN, an anti-sexual violence organization, to "develop long term policies, procedures, training and best practices for the organization as well as support services for any individual impacted in any way."

Hopkins resigned from the YEA Friday. WFMZ has repeatedly reached out to Hopkins for comment but he has not responded. In a previous report, an attorney said Hopkins denies the allegations.

The board initially issued a statement saying it had received complaints from nine women, but that "there was no cooperation at all from anyone making those accusations."

On Sunday, YEA Interim CEO Sean King released a new statement criticizing the board's response saying, "We realize we did not do enough to acknowledge the tremendous hurt and pain of the victims, and for this we apologize."

Read the full statement from YEA issued Wednesday morning below:

Youth Education in the Arts (YEA!) announces that its current board of directors tendered its resignation and a new board and officers has taken over operations of the organization effective immediately.

The new board of directors will serve with two specific objectives: first and foremost, to ensure the safety of the members, volunteers, staff, and participants of YEA!; and to provide oversight and governance of the organization.

Doug Rutherford is now Chairman of the Board. Doug is the Vice President of Global Client Success at Tangoe, a provider of IT Expense Management software and services. Doug, a member of the Cadets from 1984-1988, and drum major from 1987-1988, will represent the many thousand alumni of the Cadets programs in the organization's 84-year history.

Doug stated vehemently, "The recent allegations that have come to light are very disturbing and shocking. We are committed to an environment free from all forms of coercion and harassment. YEA! views sexual harassment, assault or aggression in any form as unacceptable; these behaviors will not be tolerated. Our mission is to support the development of young people through their participation in the performing arts while ensuring an environment that is safe, creative, and empowering for everyone involved."

YEA! is working with RAINN, The nation's largest anti-sexual violence organization to develop long term policies, procedures, training and best practices for the organization as well as support services for any individual impacted in any way. If you are a victim of sexual abuse and need someone to speak with, the National Sexual Assault Hotline can be reached at 800.656.HOPE or via the web at online.rainn.org.

Mr. Rutherford has been joined on the board by the following individuals:

Jane Lemmon of Malvern, Pennsylvania has extensive experience as an organizational development human resources executive, previously serving for 23 years as the Vice President of Human Resources Operation at Ikon Office Solutions. Her responsibilities included being named Chief Diversity Officer, managing employee relations and leadership training. She will serve in the role of developing and implementing human resources policies and procedures for the YEA! staff and programs.

Vicki Ferrence Ray of Wexford, Pennsylvania is the Chief National Programs Officer for Hugh O'Brian Youth Leadership (HOBY), the nation's premiere youth leadership development organization that provides programs to motivate and empower individuals to make a positive difference within our global society through understanding and action based on effective and compassionate leadership. She is an alumna of the 1992 Cadets and has over 20 years of youth program development and non-profit experience. She will work to ensure organizational and youth program excellence at all levels.

Ben Regalado of Severna Park, Maryland is an Ambulatory Practice Manager at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center and is a parent of a current member of The Cadets. He has served in positions of executive board leadership or as a volunteer with four drum corps and two scholastic band booster groups over 25 years. He will serve as an advocate for students and parents to create and implement new policies, procedures and practices for the organization and to establish clear avenues for grievances.

Larry Mills is Co-President of Phoenix, Arizona-based Tresona Multimedia, one of the leading music rights licensing companies in the nation. Tresona works with thousands of schools and their performance ensembles, which include marching bands, show choirs, orchestras, winter guards and dance/cheer teams. He will provide helpful guidance to the many corporate partners that work each year with YEA!

Providing additional support and resources will be Dan Acheson, CEO of Drum Corps International of Indianapolis, Indiana, who is now serving as a monitor of the work of the new YEA! board to help it make sure it is in full compliance with all rules and regulations of DCI. Dan will help ensure that YEA! develops policies and procedures that represent best practices in the care of members, staff and individuals involved with the organization.

Drum Corps International (DCI) recognizes member organizations, and as a condition of continued membership, sets expectations for members' and their participants' conduct. DCI has stepped in to help guide YEA! through this transition, and to ensure that YEA! develops policies governing sexual harassment that are in total alignment with DCI.

Further appointments to the board, task forces, and sub-committees will be forthcoming, and YEA! will update everyone of this progress and actions going forward on the YEA! website.

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