The longtime artistic director of the Boston Children's Theatre resigned last week amid allegations of inappropriate behavior with his students.
The Boston Globe reported Sunday that 58-year-old Burgess Clark resigned last Tuesday, two days before an anonymous email was sent to the theater's board of directors describing experiences of 17 former students. Three of the accusers say they were kissed or inappropriately touched by Clark during private lessons or at his second home in Vermont. The alleged conduct occurred when most of the students were 14 to 18 years old.
The board announced Clark's departure and the accusations on Saturday in an emailed response to his accusers.
"We are shocked to receive these reports and take these allegations very seriously. We have immediately taken appropriate steps in response to your email," the board wrote in the e-mail, which was obtained by the Globe.
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In a public statement Monday, Boston Children's Theatre said it contacted authorities after receiving an anonymous email complaint on Oct. 31. Clark had been on medical leave for six weeks before resigning on Oct. 29, said the theater's interim president, Jim Solomon.
"We are deeply troubled by what has been alleged," Solomon said in the statement. "We will, of course, fully cooperate with authorities during their investigation."
Clark did not respond to the Globe's requests for comment and the newspaper said no one answered the door at his Vermont home. An attorney who previously represented Clark told The Associated Press he has not contacted her about the allegations.
Jim Solomon, president of the theater's board of directors, said in a statement the allegations were reported Saturday to law enforcement. A spokesman for the board said police were contacted in Beverly, where Clark lives and where some programs are held. A spokeswoman for the Essex district attorney's office told the Globe that police have reported the accusations to prosecutors.
A biography of Clark, which has since been removed from the theater's website, describes him as a "30-year theatre professional" who was nominated in 1991 and 2005 as a "Distinguished Teacher in the Arts" by the National Foundation for the Advancement in the Arts. He has won or been nominated for various playwriting awards.
Clark previously quit his job in 2017 in protest, claiming censorship. He told the Globe at the time that some board members demanded he delete a brief nude scene in a production of "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" that he was directing. A 1963 stage adaptation of the novel didn't call for nudity, but Clark wanted the main character to drop a towel around his waist to express defiance. Clark later returned to his job and several board members ultimately resigned.