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Cleveland Orchestra suspends concertmaster William Preucil following sexual harassment allegations

The Cleveland Orchestra announced it has suspended concertmaster William Preucil after he was the center of a sexual harassment report in The Washington Post.

CLEVELAND -- The Cleveland Orchestra has suspended William Preucil after the concertmaster was the subject of sexual harassment allegations in The Washington Post.

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

On Thursday, The Washington Post released an article in which violinist Zeneba Bowers came forward with accusations of sexual harassment committed by Preucil in 1998. Bowers says she was 26 when Preucil -- then 40 -- invited her back to his hotel room after drinks began "aggressively kissing her, opening her buttons, pushing her onto the bed." After she fought him off and ran away "stunned and horrified," Bowers claimed Preucil called her and threatened to blacklist her if she told anyone.

In addition to Bowers' claims, The Post detailed another allegation made against Preucil following a dinner at a Miami steakhouse in 2000.

“I can see you at the audition next month or you can come upstairs and let me lick you all over,” the violinist, who requested anonymity, recalled him saying.

Through a spokesperson at The Cleveland Orchestra, Preucil declined comment.

Cleveland Institute of Music and CEO Paul W. Hogle issued the following statement:

“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 but will not comment on specific allegations made in the article. CIM has zero tolerance for behavior that puts our students at risk.

“CIM has a well-defined policy regarding sexual harassment (cim.edu/aboutcim/titleIX) and reporting (cim.edu/aboutcim.titleIX/report), and our Title IX officer and designated reporters thoroughly investigate any claims related to sexual discrimination and harassment.

“We have a rigorous requirement that every staff and faculty member attend regular training on preventing sexual harassment and misconduct in the workplace. We talk with – and listen to – our students in a variety of forums about personal safety. We also actively encourage them to seek assistance from mental health and crisis counselors which we make available – through the extensive resources available through our partnership with Case Western Reserve University – to our entire student body.”