Theater director dies days after sexual assault allegations surfaced: ‘He groomed, abused and assaulted numerous young men’

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A man who spent three decades as the director of a prestigious Kansas City youth theater was found dead just days after allegations surfaced that he had sexually abused multiple men at various times during his career.

On Saturday, police discovered the body of Jeff Church, 63-year-old artistic director of the Coterie Theatre, at his home in Kansas City, Missouri. Earlier that day, Church had resigned from his position at the theater after several former theater employees publicly claimed he had assaulted them in the past.

Deshawn Young, a former Coterie actor who now lives in Florida, was the first to publicly make allegations, claiming that Church molested him at a pool party when he was 17.

“I tried to laugh it off and repeatedly asked him to stop,” Young said the pitch. “But he kept laughing while saying, ‘I don’t care what you want.’ This was the great Jeff Church I had looked up to since I was a child.”

KC Comeaux, another former Coterie actor who worked with Church in his 20s, claimed in a Facebook post“Many of you in Kansas City were unaware of this man’s behavior. Many of you had heard rumours. But I’m here to tell you he’s a predator. He has nurtured, abused and assaulted numerous young men for over 30 years. Including me.”

Local Kansas City radio host Mark Manning made his own allegations on air, claiming that Church assaulted him 31 years ago when he was 27. “I found myself pushed back on the bed, his mouth was on my body parts, my clothes seemed to disappear, and very quickly the director had entered me,” asserted Manning.

The Pitch characterized the alleged abuse as “rampant and well known in the local theater scene”. There is even reports that Church used the Coterie’s Instagram account to send sexually explicit messages.

After the allegations, the Coterie Church immediately suspended and issued one expression, and promised to examine them “completely” and “robustly”. Church then submitted his resignation and was dead within hours.

On officially Cause of death has not yet been reported. Details of Church’s personal life, such as whether he was married or had children, remain unclear. The following video from two years ago contains talks on theatre-related issues, including so-called transgenderism. Church is among the participants. Theater director dies days after sexual assault allegations surfaced: ‘He groomed, abused and assaulted numerous young men’

Laura Coffey

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