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After long legal fight, Children's Theater Co. settles with abuse survivors

The theater made the announcement on Friday.

A long legal battle over sexual abuse at the Children's Theater Company (CTC) appears to have come to an end. 

On Friday, the theater announced that it's settled all 16 lawsuits brought against it by former students who were abused at CTC in the 1970s and '80s. 

Under the terms of the settlement, the theater's Board of Directors has approved a $500,000 contribution to a newly created "survivors fund," at the request of the survivors. 

The fund, CTC says, "will be designed and led by the survivors, and administered by a third-party administrator."

CTC has also agreed to implement a number of policy changes and other efforts aimed at restoring community trust, including "a speakers series, healing conferences, and other events to support survivors and advocate for the prevention of child abuse."

Another part of the settlement will see the Board of Directors recruit new members "who have experience as a sexual assault survivor."

Additionally, the theater "will continue to review its already rigorous child safety policies and practices to ensure they continue to reflect best practices.."

"Other initiatives guided by the survivors will be created moving forward," CTC added in a news release.

Included in the release was the following statement from theater Managing Director Kimberly Motes:

“On behalf of absolutely everyone now at CTC, I want to say how deeply, deeply sorry we are that this abuse ever occurred and that it was not adequately punished at the time. It is our hope is that these settlements will provide some justice, healing, and reparation to these courageous individuals.” 

This comes more than two months after CTC announced a settlement with six of the abuse survivors, the details of which were not disclosed at the time. 

Friday's settlement caps off months of public tensions between theater officials and abuse survivors. 

The conflict included weekly protests outside the theater this summer, and calls for a boycott following a controversial apology from CTC leadership. 

One of the leaders in the legal fight against CTC, abuse survivor and theater alum Laura Stearns, shared her thoughts on the settlement on Facebook Saturday morning, saying she feels "no sense of closure":

Meanwhile, Jason McLean, one of the alleged perpetrators of the abuse who fled the country as the lawsuits got underway, is reportedly back in the U.S.

The Star Tribune reports that McLean — who once owned the Varsity Theater and Loring Pasta Bar in Minneapolis — is running a restaurant in California called "Small Wonder."

The paper notes that attorney Jeff Anderson, who represents the CTC survivors, has vowed not to let McLean "escape accountability in any way, shape or form."

McLean owes millions of dollars in damages in relation to the CTC lawsuits. 

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