Theater Director Found Dead Days After Being Accused Of Sexual Abuse, Reports Say

 Theater Director Found Dead Days After Being Accused Of Sexual Abuse, Reports Say

Photo Credit: The Coterie

A Kansas City children’s theater director was found dead in his home on Christmas Eve, days after resigning following allegations of sexual abuse during his longstanding career, per the NY Post

Police discovered the body of Jeff Church at his residence on Dec. 24. Church had recently resigned from Coterie Theatre where he worked as an artistic director for over 30 years amid public accusations from several victims of sexual abuse.

Several students who studied under Church came forward accusing the 63-year-old of sexual abuse. KKFI 90.1 radio host Mark Manning accused Church on Facebook of assaulting him in 1991 when he was 27. Manning exposed Church on Facebook after sharing a since-deleted video by Deshawn Young, a Florida-based actor who previously lived in Kansas City, in which he described being assaulted by Church. 

Manning wrote,

“I am sharing this video testimonial from my friend Dashawn Young. Please be careful. This is very difficult to watch and hear… My emotional muscle memory was triggered in a way I did not fully expect. I lost it. I became so emotional that I wondered if I could even do my radio show.” 

Manning went on to share how Church allegedly sexually assaulted him at a director’s home during a party.

“I found myself pushed back on the bed, his mouth was on my body parts, my clothing seemed to disappear, and very quickly the director had penetrated me,”

he wrote. 

Since Dashawn Young’s post more than a dozen people have come forward against Church, according to Kansas City Pitch. One source said that Church

“uses the promise of career advancement, in combination with social, professional, and physical pressure, to enact predatory behavior on young male actors.”

The theater placed Church on

“administrative leave”

following the allegations. Church submitted his resignation hours before his death. The medical examiner has not revealed the cause of death.

#Clique, what are your thoughts?

Tatiana Tait

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