Trinity Wall Street, one of the most influential and wealthy churches in New York City, announced on Saturday that it was suspending its high-profile director of music while it investigates an allegation of sexual misconduct leveled against him. The allegation is that he engaged in inappropriate sexual behavior.
Mary Poole, a former employee at Juilliard, has accused the director, Julian Wachner, of sexually assaulting her. Wachner is a highly regarded conductor, composer, and keyboardist, and he has been a fixture at the church for more than a decade. Poole’s accusation comes after Wachner was accused of sexually assaulting Mary Poole. Ms. Poole claimed in an interview with The New York Times that in 2014, Mr. Wachner assaulted her at a music festival by groping her, kissing her, and shoving her against a wall. She also claimed that he ignored her demands that he stop all of these behaviors. Mr. Wachner disputes the claims.
Although Trinity did not address Ms. Poole by name in a statement issued to The Times on Saturday, the church did say that they learned about “allegations of sexual misbehavior” against Mr. Wachner for the first time last month from social media. Ms. Poole recently posted on her social media platforms a lengthy account of her interaction with Mr. Wachner, stating at the end of the post, “I was absolutely raped.”
Trinity stated that it had retained independent counsel to conduct an investigation. According to the statement released by the church, “Julian has been placed on administrative leave as of March 1 and will stay on leave while the investigation is ongoing.” “Trinity takes these charges extremely seriously,” you can quote me as saying.
Mr. Wachner has, through his legal representation, refuted the allegations.
According to the statement made by the attorney, Andrew T. Miltenberg, “We respect Trinity’s determination to conduct a comprehensive inquiry.” My client is looking forward to the matter being settled and says that the absurd charges made by Ms. Poole are completely untrue. We are unable to provide any further comment at this time due to the ongoing nature of the inquiry.
Ms. Poole was instrumental in the planning and execution of a Juilliard festival held in Aiken, South Carolina, in 2014, which featured Mr. Wachner and the renowned Trinity choir. During the course of the questioning, Ms. Poole mentioned that on one particular evening, Mr. Wachner asked her to buy him a drink at a residence where members of the Juilliard staff were staying. She claimed that as she was preparing the drink in the kitchen, he began to grope and kiss her for about two minutes, despite the fact that she ordered him to stop stopping multiple times.
A friend of Ms. Poole’s and a former coworker was also interviewed by The Times, and both of them recalled hearing Ms. Poole relate the circumstances of the incident with Mr. Wachner at the time. Ms. Poole explained that she was in another state at the time and was running short on time in the middle of a tour when she decided not to file a police report regarding the event.
During the course of the interview, Ms. Poole, who was 24 years old at the time, stated that she felt helpless when dealing with Mr. Wachner, a prominent figure in the industry of classical music. She stated, “I felt like I could not defend myself,” adding that at the time, she was concerned that she might face professional repercussions if she spoke up. “I felt like I could not defend myself,” she claimed. She revealed that she continues to suffer from panic attacks, which she claims are a direct result of the event.
Ms. Poole informed Juilliard of the incident, and the institution made a commitment not to employ Mr. Wachner again.
Juilliard stated in a statement released on Saturday that the institution was aware of “inappropriate behavior” by Wachner in 2014.
According to a statement released by the institution, “Sexual misconduct or discrimination are not tolerated at Juilliard, and we take all claims extremely seriously.” [Citation needed] “At the moment, we provided Ms. Poole with our unwavering support and let Mr. Wachner know that he would not be invited back to Juilliard in the foreseeable future.” Since that point on, our company has had zero interaction with Mr. Wachner.
In addition to having a music department that is highly regarded, Trinity, which is one of the most prosperous churches in the city, has a portfolio of office buildings, stock investments, and residential projects that is worth $6 billion.
Wachner is in charge of the church’s choir, Baroque orchestra, and contemporary ensemble because he is the director of music and the arts at the institution. Together, these three groups put on hundreds of performances every year. He gives annual performances of Handel’s “Messiah,” and in 2018, The Times commended him for conducting “the best ‘Messiah’ in New York.” He is perhaps most recognized for these performances. He has been nominated for Grammy Awards and has worked with prestigious institutions such as Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, and the Los Angeles Opera. His work has also been performed at prestigious venues.
In the most recent few months, Wachner has established himself as one of three leading candidates for the position of the future artistic director of the prestigious Oregon Bach Festival. On Saturday, the festival did not provide a response in response to a request for a remark.