BSO sus­pends con­cert­mas­ter af­ter peace or­der fil­ing

Baltimore Sun - - NEWS - By Sarah Mee­han smee­han@balt­sun.com twit­ter.com/sarahvmee­han

The Bal­ti­more Sym­phony Or­ches­tra has sus­pended con­cert­mas­ter Jonathan Car­ney af­ter al­le­ga­tions sur­faced of Car­ney’s “in­ap­pro­pri­ate be­hav­ior” to­ward an­other or­ches­tra’s em­ployee, BSO Pres­i­dent and CEO Peter Kjome said in a state­ment.

BSO man­age­ment de­cided to sus­pend Car­ney af­ter it came to the group’s at­ten­tion Thurs­day that Car­ney al­legedly threat­ened an em­ployee of the Mid-At­lantic Sym­phony Or­ches­tra. A judge granted a peace or­der filed against Car­ney as a re­sult of the Oct. 31 in­ci­dent.

The peace or­der fol­lowed a com­plaint filed with the U.S. Equal Em­ploy­ment Op­por­tu­nity Com­mis­sion by prin­ci­pal oboist Kather­ine Needle­man against the BSO re­lated to sex­ual ha­rass­ment al­le­ga­tions in­volv­ing Car­ney. Needle­man’s com­plaint al­leged Car­ney re­tal­i­ated against her af­ter she re­jected his ad­vances in 2005.

“Af­ter a com­pre­hen­sive in­de­pen­dent in­ves­ti­ga­tion into al­le­ga­tions of in­ap­pro­pri­ate be­hav­ior to­wards an­other mu­si­cian in our own or­ches­tra, we made it clear to Jonathan Car­ney that we would not tol­er­ate in­ap­pro­pri­ate be­hav­ior,” Kjome said. “In our view, Mr. Car­ney was not forth­com­ing about this cur­rent al­le­ga­tion.”

A hear­ing for the fi­nal peace or­der is sched­uled for Tues­day and Car­ney will be sus­pended with­out pay through at least Tues­day, ac­cord­ing to the BSO.

Car­ney could not be reached for com­ment Fri­day, but his at­tor­ney, Neil Ruther, said in a state­ment that Car­ney’s sus­pen­sion was “dis­ap­point­ing given the cir­cum­stances and facts of the sit­u­a­tion.”

“My client has yet to speak for him­self on the mat­ter, which is why he did not get ahead of the process by dis­cussing the mat­ter with the BSO,” Ruther said in the state­ment. “We are con­fi­dent that once the facts are known the is­sue will be promptly re­solved with the BSO.”

Ruther also said Fri­day that the con­ver­sa­tion be­tween Car­ney and the woman stemmed from Needle­man’s al­le­ga­tions.

“Like any­one who­has en­dured mis­rep­re­sen­ta­tions that caused harm to their rep­u­ta­tion, he was emo­tional and had ques­tions about why this in­di­vid­ual would en­gage in such harm­ful be­hav­ior,” Ruther said.

In an email Fri­day, Needle­man said she did not know the woman Car­ney al­legedly threat­ened at the Mid-At­lantic Sym­phony Or­ches­tra and had never spo­ken to her.

“I have, how­ever, had a sim­i­lar threat di­rected at me by Jonathan Car­ney, and un­der­stand too clearly how fright­en­ing he can be,” Needle­man said.

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