Stories in the Media

Please continue with consideration and care for yourself.

This page contains photos, articles and videos that may be very activating for those who have experienced trauma.

Interactive CTC Timeline (Minneapolis Tribune)

PRESS RELEASE: CTA Wellness Board of Directors: December 2020 Public Update

In 2015 and 2016, sixteen former students of The Children’s Theatre Company and School (CTC) of Minneapolis sued CTC regarding childhood sexual assaults they experienced while at CTC in the 1970s and 80s. Nine perpetrators were named in these lawsuits and over thirty perpetrators were identified as part of the investigations that followed. Additionally, over two hundred victims were revealed during the investigations.

In January 2019, one trial resulted from these lawsuits.  CTC was found negligent and the perpetrator, Jason McLean, was found liable. In October of 2019, during the final mediation process with Children’s Theatre Company, plaintiffs requested that CTC donate $500,000 to support the mental wellbeing of the additional alumni survivors and CTC agreed.

Children’s Theater Alumni Wellness Fund, also known as CTA Wellness, was formed by a group of former plaintiffs in early 2020 to facilitate the distribution of the Fund.

Please click to read the whole letter

Innocence Lost: A culture of abuse

In the series of articles and radio reports beginning today titled “Innocence Lost,” MPR News aims to offer the fullest telling to date of the sexual abuse that plagued Children’s Theatre Company in the 1960s, ’70s and ’80s.

“It was the most magical, beautiful, sick place I’ve ever been,” recalled one female survivor.

“I think almost all of us will tell you that our experience at the Children’s Theatre was euphoric and horrific,” said another.

Read Full Story and Listen to All 6 segments Here


Dozens of predators, 100s of kids: Decades of trained stars and scorched lives at Children’s Theatre

“When Donahue was finally caught in 1984, Judge Charles Porter skewered the Twin Cities arts community for its complicity.
“‘Genius has to be given their idiosyncrasies, or genius has its funny side, and you have to forgive those sort of things. The theater would have collapsed if anything happened to John Clark Donahue, and the Twin Cities could not afford to have that happen.’ I have heard that so much,” Porter said at sentencing.”

Read Story Here

Sex-abuse case was a long time in the making; the kids raised the curtain

Reporter Kay Miller spent more than a year investigating this two-part series from 1991. She conducted more than 100 interviews with Children’s Theatre staff and board members, students, theater artists, prosecutors, the judge, victims, parents, counselors and psychologists and friends of John Clark Donahue.

Read Full Story Here


Children’s Theatre alumni reunite around painful memories

“CTC was like the fantasy island for wayward boys in ‘Pinocchio,’ ” wrote one. “But, just as Pinocchio discovered that the island was not a fantasy … so too did so many of us discover the dark underside.”

Read Story Here

The Sexual Predators of the Children’s Theatre Company & Call to Action

The sexual abuse that occurred at the Children’s Theatre Company, while horrific, is not a rare occurrence when you look at the numbers of sexually abused children all over this country. Since this all came to light, there have been plenty of other cases, at other theatres, to be revealed.

Read Story Here


Children’s theater founder sentenced for sex abuse

‘I am profoundly and deeply sorry for any harm, hurt and embarrassment I brought,’ John Clark Donahue, 46, told the court. ‘I’d simply like to say that I have tried to devote myself to the positive growth of young people.’

Read Story Here

CTC Artist Statement of Solidarity & Call to Action

We are theatre artists, educators, and staff at CTC who stand in solidarity with people who have experienced sexual abuse. We are responding to CTC’s recent actions and public communication regarding current lawsuits brought forward by survivors of sexual abuse perpetrated by CTC staff in the 70s and 80s. Although CTC has enacted youth safety policies and protections since then and acknowledged past abuse, we believe that deeper healing within the community and justice for survivors is imperative.

Read Story Here


Another suit filed against CTC, Jason McLean, alleging sex abuse

“I have been silent about the truth, as painful as it is, for too long,” said Beneke, 48, who is a yoga instructor in Anchorage, Alaska.

Read Story Here

Innocence Lost: Rumors, alarms got nowhere
Who knew about Children’s Theatre abuse? And who didn’t?

“And somebody said, ‘Well, I heard a rumor,’ and the lawyer or person from the insurance company said, ‘You didn’t hear any rumors and if you did, you do not repeat that ever again.’ That’s the line that I take away, was basically ‘you didn’t hear anything, you knew nothing, you saw nothing.’”

Read Story Here


Suit adds new claim of 1980s sex abuse at Mpls. children’s theater

“When you’re told over and over and over again that this is the only place you’re safe, you start to believe what was happening to you is OK because they say it is,” Nanasi said in an interview.

Read Story Here

1969 CTC Staff. Foreground: John Jenkins. 2nd row: Gerald Drake, John Clark Donahue; 3rd Row: Jack Barkla, Wendy Lehr, Bain Boehlke, Terry "Cugga" Crabbe. Back row: Karlis Ozols, Francis McGovern, Linda Walsh Jenkins.

Wendy Lehr, Hiram Titus, Steven Rydberg, Rise Ferster, Chris Mulkey, Bain Boehlke

Myron Johnson, Wendy Lehr, Chris Mulkey and John Donahue lead students in movement at Jefferson High School residency.