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Cleveland Orchestra Suspends William Preucil After Assault Allegations

The Cleveland Orchestra has suspended its concertmaster, Bill Preucil. The move happened one day after the Washington Post published a story in which the renowned violinist is accused of sexually assaulting a student of his when he was a teacher at Miami's New World Symphony in 1998. 

“The Cleveland Orchestra was not aware of the allegations reported by The Washington Post about William Preucil in their July 26, 2018 article,” said André Gremillet, the Cleveland Orchestra's executive director in an emailed statement to ideastream. “We take this matter very seriously and will promptly conduct an independent investigation. Mr. Preucil has been suspended until further notice.”

Cleveland Institute of Music: "Deeply Troubled"

In addition to serving as the Cleveland Orchestra concertmaster since 1995, Preucil is also a Distinguished Professor of Violin at the Cleveland Institute of Music (CIM).

“The board, faculty and staff of the Cleveland Institute of Music are deeply troubled by the Washington Post story discussing issues of sexual harassment in classical music,” said Paul W. Hogle, President & CEO of the school in a written statement. However, CIM “will not comment on specific allegations made in the article.”

The statement adds, “CIM has zero tolerance for behavior that puts our students at risk.”

In light of Preucil’s suspension from the Cleveland Orchestra Friday afternoon, CIM says it is reviewing the situation internally and has nothing to announce at this time.

Cleveland Musician Union Having 'Internal Discussions'

“We are committed to all our employers creating a safe work environment,” said Leonard DiCosimo, President of the Cleveland Federation of Musicians, the union that represents Cleveland Orchestra musicians including Preucil.

DiCosimo added it was too early to say whether the union would be taking any action following the revelations. “We’re having internal discussions,” he said.

Allegations in 2007

The Post story is not the first time Preucil has been accused of misconduct. A 2007 article in Cleveland Scene described an incident in which Preucil allegedly sexually harassed a CIM student. In the article, the accuser, fearing retaliation, remained anonymous. CIM, citing an internal policy, declined to confirm or deny the allegations.

Reached for comment at the time, Preucil said, “The issue was fully reviewed by the institution and was resolved to everyone's satisfaction.”

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Adrian Ma is a business reporter and recovering law clerk for ideastream in Cleveland. Since making the switch from law to journalism, he's reported on how New York's helicopter tour industry is driving residents nuts, why competition is heating up among Ohio realtors, and the controlled-chaos of economist speed-dating. Previously, he was a producer at WNYC News. His work has also aired on NPR's Planet Money, and Marketplace. In 2017, the Association of Independents in Radio designated him a New Voices Scholar, an award recognizing new talent in public media. Some years ago, he worked in a ramen shop.