A week after the leaders of Children's Theatre Company issued a public apology to a child sex abuse victim they were seeking to recover court costs from, their attorneys filed a notice Friday making that move official.
Laura Stearns is one of 17 plaintiffs who have filed suit against Children's Theatre Company (CTC) and its instructors since 2015, saying there was widespread sexual abuse at the Minneapolis theater in the 1970s and 1980s. Her case was the first to go to trial. A jury returned a $3.68 million verdict against Jason McLean, a former teacher who Stearns accused of raping her in the 1980s. The jury found that CTC had been negligent but wasn't liable for damages.
At a hearing last month, CTC's attorneys argued that, because they were the prevailing party in the trial, they should be reimbursed for $283,000 of their court costs. In response, Stearns urged a boycott of the theater, and she and other victims held a protest outside the theater.
On Friday, CTC's lawyers withdrew the motion for costs in Hennepin County District Court. Artistic Director Peter Brosius and Managing Director Kimberly Motes had promised to do so in a video last week.
Stearns said she was glad CTC withdrew the motion, but the action came too late.
"They should never have made the motion to begin with," she said. "It was an insensitive choice and it's grown bigger … it opened up a huge conversation."
She said she will still protest outside the theater on Saturday and every Saturday afterward, indefinitely, as she watches what happens in other victims' cases.
She said there needs to be "some gigantic shift in their stance of survivors of the Children's Theatre. … They need to own their history."