Victims in Children's Theatre Company sex abuse scandal seek new trial, but may be on hook for costs
MINNEAPOLIS (FOX 9) - Lawyers filed a motion for a new trial in the sex abuse case involving former staff members at the Minneapolis Children’s Theatre Company.
The motion was filed by lawyers representing at least one of the victims. Meanwhile, supporters of the sexual assault survivors are calling for a boycott of the organization.
Laura Stearns Adams was one of the few victims who publicly shared her painful story of being sexually assaulted by a former Children's Theatre Company teacher in the ‘80s. After getting through a difficult trial, she's now learning the company is asking her to pay them nearly $300,000 in taxation costs associated with the case.
“It’s unthinkable. I just can’t even imagine that a corporation would ask an individual for that kind of a number in this,” she said.
Stearns Adams is pushing back against an institution that she says is not owning responsibility in a sex abuse scandal that scarred many victims.
In January, the Minneapolis Children's Theatre Company was found negligent for their part in her abuse as a student there in the early ‘80s.
Stearns Adams was awarded a judgment of nearly $3.7 million, but because the company was not found liable, the payment of the judgment fell on former teacher Jason McLean, who sold off his assets and moved to Mexico.
He's denied the rape allegations and has yet to be charged.
Stearns Adams hasn't seen a cent yet.
"This is about making sure that victims are heard and for people who have had these types of things that have happened to them, that it’s OK to come forward and tell people what happened,” she said.
In a court proceeding on Friday, Stearns Adams' attorneys have called for a new trial pushing for the company to be held liable.
To her surprise, Stearns Adams also learned lawyers for the organization have sought taxation costs against her for nearly $300,000.
“They’ve just spun it around on me to try and get me to pay for proving that they’re negligent,” she said.
In a statement to FOX 9, the Children's Theatre Company said in part, "last week our attorney did NOT ask for a judgment against Laura but instead asked the court to determine what the proper cost is in our case. Any decision about if we would seek to recover those costs from Laura is for a later point in this ongoing process. We hope fervently that we never get to the point of having to make such a decision."
The company said they are not blaming the victim and have no desire to keep this lawsuit going.
The judge will now review everything and determine if a new trial will be granted and will make a decision on whether Laura Stearns Adams will owe that money to the company.
Full statement from Children's Theatre Company:
CTC Statement-May 27 2019 by KMSP-TV on Scribd