Julian Wachner: Music director fired by NY Trinity Church after woman accuses him of sexual assault
Mary Poole, a former Juilliard employee, claimed that Wachner raped her eight years ago during a music festival in South Carolina
Julian Wachner, a prominent composer and pianist and the music director of Trinity Wall Street Church, has been sacked as the church investigates a report that he sexually abused a former Juilliard employee. Wachner was fired by the church, which is one of the richest in New York City, according to a statement released on Monday (March 14). Wachner has been placed on leave two days ago following a New York Times article that claimed that he had reportedly attacked a former Juilliard employee in 2014. Wachner has vehemently refuted the allegations.
In a statement, the church’s rector said, “On the evening of Feb. 28, 2022, we learned from social media postings about allegations of sexual misconduct against Julian Wachner, which date back to 2014. Trinity promptly engaged a third-party investigator to look into the matter, and Julian was placed on administrative leave on March 1. The investigation is ongoing, and thus the investigator has not yet made any determination about the veracity of the 2014 allegations. Still, we have concluded based on recent information that Julian has otherwise conducted himself in a manner that is inconsistent with our expectations of anyone who occupies a leadership position. For this reason, Trinity has decided to end Julian’s employment with Trinity as of today."
“We are grateful to those who have reached out to Trinity, and we are committed to providing an environment where open, honest communications and the highest standards of professionalism are the expectation, and where information suggesting that members of our community may not be meeting these expectations is acted upon promptly," the statement added. Mary Poole, a former Juilliard employee, told the New York Times that Wachner raped her eight years ago during a music festival in South Carolina. According to the New York Times, she said that he pushed her against a wall, groped her, and kissed her and that he ignored her demands that he stop. The account was corroborated by two people who said they recalled Poole describing the encounter at the time.
Wachner had been in charge of Trinity's music department for 11 years, receiving praise and a Grammy nomination for his work directing the church choir in yearly performances of Handel's 'Messiah.' He is a prominent composer and keyboardist who has been characterized as a 'darling of the new-music scene and the early-music scene at the same time' by the Washington Post. Wachner's attorney, Andrew Miltenberg, said in an emailed statement to New York Times that his client continues to dispute the nearly decade-old, misleading, and untrue allegations made against him. Miltenberg added, “We are exceptionally disappointed that Trinity has acted prior to completing a thorough investigation. Depriving Mr. Wachner of the benefit of the full narrative is the antithesis of due process and allows distortions to triumph over the truth.”