Children's Theater protests continue amid lawsuit controversy

The theater is under scrutiny over its treatment of a sex abuse survivor in court.
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The Children's Theater Company

Despite a public apology over its controversial legal filing against a sex abuse survivor, the Children's Theater Company (CTC) is still the subject of fierce criticism and continuing protests outside its walls.

On Saturday, at least a dozen protesters showed up at CTC holding signs, the second such demonstration in as many weeks. 

Laura Stearns and protesters outside the Children's Theater Company.

They were organized with the involvement of Laura Stearns, who successfully sued the theater and former staffer Jason McLean over abuse that took place in the 1980s. 

The protests are a response to a motion CTC made in the wake of that lawsuit — in which the theater was found negligent in the abuse, but not made to pay any damages — seeking to recoup legal fees, apparently from the plaintiff herself. 

This sparked widespread outrage, with Stearns penning a Facebook post saying CTC's lawyers asked the court to make her pay the theater $283,792.25.

Days later, over the Memorial Day weekend, CTC responded with a Facebook post of its own. It denied it was trying to recoup legal costs from Stearns, but seemed to leave the possibility open with the following statement:

To be clear, procedurally we are not at a point where the Theatre has asked Laura to pay its costs. In fact, last week our attorney did NOT ask for a judgement against Laura but instead asked the court to determine what the proper cost is in our case. Any decision about if we would seek to recover those costs from Laura is for a later point in this ongoing process. We hope fervently that we never get to the point of having to make such a decision.

After a public outcry, that post was removed, and followed up with this video statement:

Kimberly Motes and Peter Brosius, managing director and artistic director respectively, apologized over the court filing, saying they never intended for Laura Stearns to pay those fees.

The video backfired, leading to hundreds of disapproving Facebook comments. A leading theme of the criticism is the fact that "there is still no recognition or admittance (in the video) of the fact that CTC was found (negligent) in this case," as one user put it.

That apology was posted on May 31; since then, the theater has made no additional statement about the case.

On Saturday, Stearns wrote on Facebook that "CTC needs to do a lot more than withdraw a motion... if they want to accomplish any sort of restoration with the survivor community or the theater community."

She went on to say she will continue her fight "until every case against them is settled":

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