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Old 05-19-2020, 05:22 PM
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Bard College allowed music teacher to assault student, lawsuit alleges
By Ben Feuerherd
May 19, 2020 | 5:37pm | Updated

A Bard College music student was sexually harassed by her percussion instructor — all because the school knowingly allowed him to continue teaching after several other students made similar complaints, a new lawsuit claims.

Drum teacher Carlos Valdez, allegedly groomed the student before she started classes at the school, sending her messages on social media and creating a mentor-mentee relationship, according to the suit.

When she started at the school in 2016, he pushed her to take private lessons with him, offering her a private room in the basement of the school near his office.

At the beginning of each private lesson, Valdez gave her a long hug and eventually began asking her about her personal life — including her boyfriends, the suit states.

He then began massaging her back after saying her posture needed improvement — and urging her to play the drums more loudly so her breasts would bounce while she played, according to the suit.

On one occasion, he grabbed her and forcibly kissed her, the student says in the suit.

The student then switched her academic focus in an effort to get away from Valdez and eventually grew depressed after the teacher allegedly retaliated against her by badmouthing her and downplaying her musical ability to other students.

She eventually filed a Title IX complaint against Valdez at the school, according to the suit. The school fired Valdez after investigating the student’s claim, but she discovered he’d been the subject of two previous complaints prior to her experiences.

The student claims the school president, Leon Botstein, and Dean Michèle Dominy, shoulder the responsibility of Valdez’s actions because they knew he had a history of sexual misconduct, but allowed him to continue teaching.

The student is seeking unspecified damages.

Bard College and Valdez did not immediately return request for comment.
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