Stories of sexual abuse within youth-sports are far too common. Just a few short weeks ago we wrote a piece about six female athletes filing against USA Swimming for sexual abuse suffered while training with former coach Andy King (click here read the full blog).
Now, five male dancers have brought a suit against their former dance instructor, Terence M. Greene (54), and the Cleveland Metropolitan School District (CMSD) for sexual abuse suffered within the Cleveland School of the Arts (CSA).
According to News 5 Cleveland, the lawsuit alleges that officials at CSA and the Cleveland Metropolitan School District officials “ignored warnings and serious red flags about Greene’s behavior”
“They turned a blind eye,” said the plaintiffs’ attorney, Ryan Fisher. “They put the man in front of the child in this case.” “All of these students tell a very similar story,” continued Fisher. “His [Greene’s] conduct has been consistent, it has been premeditated and it has been vicious.”
This case, and others like it, are text-book examples of how predators can groom an entire organization. They earn trust and tenure – while obtaining uninterruptible and unobservable access to children. Once that trust is established, a predator will abuse children.
In 2004, Greene was charged with four counts of unlawful sex with a minor and brought to trial where he was ultimately acquitted. Greene was then permitted to immediately return to teaching dance at CSA – where he stayed for another 10 years before his 2014 resignation after “allegations of improper conduct surfaced.”
But CSA and CMSD weren’t the only organizations to “turn a blind eye” to Greene’s lascivious past. In 2015, Greene was hired as Cuyahoga Community College’s Dance Academy Program Manager, where he was allowed to interact with and teach children until 2019. That was when a student filed a police report alleging Greene sexually abused him off-campus. Greene was then removed by the college.
A statement from Cuyahoga Community College’s claims a “criminal background check conducted before Greene was hired did not report any open cases or convictions.”
Another dance instructor, Alexander Boitsov (67) of Hockessin, DE worked with children at dance studios in at least four states before being convicted in both Delaware and Pennsylvania, for the sexual abuse of children. Boitsov continued to find work at numerous dance studios, with full access to multiple children until his conviction of unlawful sexual contact and repeated sexual abuse of a child in 2019.
Had any of these organizations thoroughly screened their instructors beyond a criminal background check, further victimization of children could have been halted.
Knowing the warning signs of grooming behavior can help organizations better protect the children in their care from predators like Boitsov and Greene. It is critical to hold these institutions accountable for harboring such criminals. It is even more vital for them to have clear child safety policies, as well as proper abuse prevention training for adults.
We urge all youth-serving organizations who are committed to protecting children to partner with the Beau Biden Foundation to confront abuse and protect children. Learn more about how youth-serving organizations can help protect children at www.BeauBidenFoundation.org/Workshops.