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Conductor Benjamin Zander Fired For Employing Sex Offender

Conductor Benjamin Zander leads the Boston Philharmonic in 2004 at New York's Carnegie Hall. (AP)

Conductor Benjamin Zander leads the Boston Philharmonic in 2004 at New York's Carnegie Hall. (AP)

World-renowned conductor Benjamin Zander and the New England Conservatory abruptly ended an almost half-century long working relationship Thursday, when school officials discovered Zander had knowingly hired a registered sex-offender to videotape NEC’s Youth Philharmonic Orchestra over the past decade.

Zander does not deny knowing Peter Benjamin’s history. In fact, Zander provided a testimonial at Benjamin’s sentencing hearing 20 years ago. In 1994, Benjamin pleaded guilty to raping a boy.

For his part, Zander calls his dismissal an “absolute tragedy,” adding that Benjamin’s “done nothing for 20 years”. But it also raises questions about just how much scrutiny private institutions are — or should be —giving to the past histories of contract employees.

Guests:

  • Michael Rezendes, reporter, Boston Globe
  • Karen Schwartzman, spokesperson, New England Conservatory
  • Sara Goldsmith Schwartz, education and employment attorney, Schwartz Hannum PC
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  • Listener from Newton

    Our daughter, now a professional classical singer, attended the Walnut
    Hill School for a year in high school during the last 10 years.
    Her experiences studying with, and performing under,  Benjamin Zander were highly positive and a highlight of her time there. Other music students of Mr. Zander at WHS
    and NEC I have met and spoken with at length have had nothing but good
    things to say about him and the programs he developed. Why this extreme
    response by NEC now when, over the past 10 years of heightened
    awareness of abuse issues, no complaints were received? Sounds like a
    CYA response to put out a fire where no smoke exists, and if it is, then
    Mr. Zander should be reinstated ASAP.

    • Dave

      There’s probably been some friction between Mr. Zander and administration for quite some time. If one wants to look “very hard”, anyone can be fired.

      The other side of the coin deals with proper supervision of a sex offender. This isn’t just an offender, this is a convicted child rapist. Let that sink in a little here.

      What you have is a systemic failure. Mr. Zander hiring a convicted child rapist to videotape Minors. There’s a lack of informed consent for the parents, and community members. As a sex offender, that should have been disclosed to all parties prior to his employment. And what about the responsibility of the State? Does this convicted rapist have an existing bar to working/contact with minors?

      In short, not only should Mr. Zander have been terminated, but his immediate supervisor, and the entire administration of the youth symphony, as well.

      If an adult chooses to ignore the laws, that’s one thing. But what about the children? This rapist has already done it once. It’s not responsible behavior to put another child at risk. 

      That rapist belongs in jail, permanently.

      • Alexander Baillie

        woah! calma! calma! why stop there, Dave? why not fire the whole of NEC while your at it on this righteous mission. But you are right about there being a cover up for some other story. Truth will out. Lets hear what has really been the problem!
        Please everybody remember this: Ben Zander is one of the most generous, supportive, warm-hearted, well intentioned, enlightened and inspired persons in the world. And he is idealistic – and we need that right now. Seeing him smeared by journalists  makes it easier to forget he has brought hundreds of thousands, no – millions of dollars of sponsorship to the YPO at NEC and has taken these young people to rare and unforgettable heights of musical experience which will have positively altered their citizenship of the world. Shame on those who now wish him pulled down like this! I dont know the offender and I regret his mistake as sincerely as he probably does: Why not take inspiration from Zander’s leadership and give this person the second chance which he seems to have earned. Where’s your compassion, Dave?

        • Aster

          Zander knowingly allowed a convicted sex offender to videotape children for ten years without the knowledge of the parents. 

          Nothing more needs to be said. 

          No one is that “enlightened” to be allowed such latitude.   

          • Bella1001

            For Pete’s sake, people!  Are you under a spell or something?  He HIRED A SEX OFFENDER.  YOU KNOW?  A MAN WHO RAPED A LITTLE BOY!!!!  GET OVER IT.  BACK TO REALITY!!

          • Peterthepedophile

            What all abouahahe near-pubescent boys that Peter Benjamin would bring along to “lend a hand” at every event he recorded (seemingly a diffrent boy at each event). And he was also charged with making videos of young boys. Nice to see the Peter Benjamin monster brought out of the shadow again. Hoping it helps to protect more potential victims. I’m quite certain that this press will bring more current
            / recent victims out from hiding.

            It’s a shame that Zander would exhibit such absurd judgement.

          • pocky

            These “boys” that you refer to who Peter brought to assist him were all college age or older adults.  As one of Peter’s former assistants, I can tell you firsthand that he NEVER did anything inappropriate around me — and even if he did, it wouldn’t have been a crime, because I WAS AN ADULT when he hired me.

          • Dalemark7

            I wanted to make sure that the correct and formal information was available to everyone regarding this debacle. These are releases involving the incident that have been posted publicly on Mr. Zander’s website.

            http://benjaminzander.com/news/item/490

            http://benjaminzander.com/news/item/491

          • IAmNotATroll

            Looks like I was correct then! Hah, one for me.

          • Blair Tindall

            Correct in what?  This column is getting very narrow.

          • Blair Tindall

            And also, we don’t know that nothing happened. Child sex abuse victims often don’t talk. I met Zander. He is a pompous fellow interested mostly in his image and how may adoring fans he has.

          • Blair Tindall

            The accused party’s opinion is not “correct and formal information.”

          • pocky

            That being said, there was obviously a gross lack of organization going on within NEC’s Prep division for them to not have a CORI policy.  As a professional musician who has done numerous outreach gigs, I am *extremely* surprised to learn that NEC Prep School did not require all its contractors to complete a CORI form.  If this had been done Peter would never have been hired for prep school gigs, and that would have been the end of it.  I suspect that more heads other than Zander’s may roll once this is all said and done.

        • Dave

          Alex,

          Here’s your recipe for diaster: 1. Conductor ego 2. Convicted Child Rapist 3. Lack of supervision 4. No disclosure to parents for a decade

          What’s the issue? Convicted child rapist working around/video taping Minors.

          The rule is that one follows the law by disclosure, and that proper supervision will be constant.

          The analysis would be that a child rapist had free, unfettered access to video minors over a period of about ten years. As yet, it it not known if he did commit a crime.

          Conclusion, Zander, and his supervising body, are negligent is the allowance of this person near minors in their charge. If it come out that there has been another victim over these years, Zander & Co. will have acted in a manner that enabled Benjamin to reoffend. 

          My compassion is with the boy, his family, and his support network. Benjamin, committed rape, as he, “forced another person to have sexual intercourse with him without their consent and against their will. And by the threat or use of violence against them”. I would ask you to walk in the shoes of the victim.

          • Imanitwo

            Dave, unless you know otherwise, I believe your argument needs to stop at #2.  I have not read anywhere, thus far, that the videographer had any lack of supervision.  He was videotaping performances.  Surely there were many people (adults, parents, etc…) present.  The NEC, in its statement, states as much.  It also sounds like (by Mr, Benjamin’s statement–this needs to be verified) his videography of children was only about 10% of the time (and in the presence of others).  And if your argument stops at #2, conductor ego, at times, this is warranted.  Nevertheless, that is not (or should not be) the issue here.  The fundamental issue remains did Mr. Benjamin do anything wrong since his rehiring, and did, or should Benjaman  Zander know about it?  If not, this is much to do about nothing (or more likely a smokescreen for some other issue).

          • Dave

            No, the fundamental issue is the proper care, and supervision of Minors. The conductor, without disclosure, and following state/federal laws, hired a convicted child rapist to videotape minors.

            I think it would be a great idea to find the Benjamin case file and read the judges orders. What you’ve read thus far is just speculation and commentary.

            If a former member of the youth symphony comes forward… Well getting fired isn’t as bad as jail.

          • Blair Tindall

            Mr. Zander wouldn’t go to jail. He’s not guilty of a crime, but poor judgement.

          • P Yang22

            These children routinely go across the street to get lunch.  They know not to talk to strangers, but would they consider this man a stranger if he started talking with them outside the Hall?   Mr. Zander, apparently thought that of all his super-powers his clairvoyance was so great he was willing to gamble with our children’s safety.  Yes, there may be other issues that NEC has with Ben Zander, but do you need to have him publicly crucified for you to say his dismissal was warranted?   

        • Martha Werman

          I am glad to see you have the courage to sign your name.  I haven’t noted anyone else doing so.   My take on this trumped up charge
          is that when you leave attacks on Zander’s personality out of this,
          there really isn’t much valuable content to the accusation.   Zander’s merits far outweigh any palpable risk from the videographer and I’ll wager Zander is learning something from any public outrage if his mind is so attuned.    Basically, nothing has happened, and it appears NEC should take better care of its students by sending a responsible chaperone on tour with them to allay parental anxiety.  

          • Blair Tindall

            What exactly are Mr. Zander’s credits, outside your neighborhood?

        • Kris

          The Law: Was there a crime committed?….or fear of one? 

          The administration did not follow the Cori protocol PERIOD!  They should be fined if they are not following the law and the head dismissed. The administration must answer for all that walks through it’s doors as they are advised of state requirements which have been put in place to protect. THEY DID NOT!…and parents should take them to task.

          They dropped the ball and blamed it on Ben, which is specious at best, giving the timing of the letter he received this past June from the administration asking Ben to leave in 2012 – well before any news on sex offenders…and knowing Ben, he’d no sooner accept that letter than anyone else faced with an ageist attack. They better have age discrimination insurance. They have stooped to the lowest of lows to besmurch his character after he has given them so much to the world and children.

          It makes one wonder what lack of vision the administration has to put itself in the limelight of such scrutiny for the sake of ego and let a treasure like Ben ebb away after enlightening and instilling wonderment in young minds for almost 40 years…

           …18 months before his 40th anniversary  – SHAME ON ALL OF YOU COWARDS!

      • Ggallo

        I am an alumni of YPO from the early 80′s. There was friction between Zander and Administration back then. He’s a great teacher, but has a huge ego which sometimes seems abrasive. He always got what he wanted, regardless of the cost… I’m surprised he lasted this long.

      • Music8r

        Wait – Zander broke the law? Where was that in the article? I must have missed it.

        • Blair Tindall

          No one said he broke the law. Re-read.

  • Anonymous

    Giving someone a “Second Chance” as long as it doesn’t involve children is not a real Second Chance.  Either they’re trustworthy or they’re not.  Make up your mind.

    How many years (20 isn’t enough?) does it take to become a citizen again?

    • Brick Dauntless

      If your crimes are against children and it’s been shown that a non-trivial percent of these criminals will repeat their crimes, then yes, you do not get a second chance with children.  The world is filled with jobs that don’t require working with children.

      How many years does it take to become no longer a victim of a crime?

      • Blair Tindall

        PB committed a horrible crime that discounted several individuals’ personhood, if that’s a word. He’s lucky to get ANY second chance. If he has a brain in (either) head, he’d do well to steer clear of kids altogether.

  • marnie

    it’s  been my experience that when something like this happens, there is much more under the surface than  meets the eye- no matter how much support  some people  give.

    • Frugorfoto

      my brief interactions and observations of Mr Zanders behavior and demeanor have always engenedered a feeling of mistrust and a questioning of his “authenticity”.. IThis situation strikes me as somewhat odd and just as the writer states, there is probably more to come.. It just doesn’t sound right

      • Blair Tindall

        Zander is the classic “classical music character.” It’s an uneducated community that wants recognition, and he worked it hard. He’s rich, he’ll be fine. Better that an earnest young conductor who cares get into the situation at NEC.

  • Imanitwo

    The fundamental issue here is whether there is any substantive evidence that  Mr. Benjamin (the videographer) has behaved inappropriately in any way over the past 20 years (since his prison release), as relates to his sex offender status, and of which  Maestro Zander  either was, or should have been, aware.

    That is really the only issue that should matter.  If the answer to these questions is “no,” then Benjaman Zander should be immediately reinstated with significant apologies made.  In fact, whoever was responsible for such an over-reacted in such a situation should immediately resign.

    • Jtgextra

      Read the story again, he hasn’t been out for 20 years and been a model citizen, he was sentenced 20 years ago. The reason child molesters behave so well in prison is there are NO children to molest. He has a right to a second chance, just not around children.

      • Blair Tindall

        @ Jtgextra, yes!

    • Come on people!

      The ” fundamental issue” is NOT whether or not he’s reoffended since he was hired. It’s whether or not it was a safe decision to hire a CONVICTED CHILD RAPIST who VIDEOTAPED the act to VIDEOTAPE CHILDREN! This was not in any way an overreaction; Benjamin Zander is a huge liability. And for the people saying that you can’t commit a sexual act in a room full of people: what happened when orchestra ended and the kids left the building? This wasn’t a man who had sex with his 17 year old girlfriend just after he turned 18. He committed multiple offenses relatively late in life. You don’t just “turn over a new leaf” and start out with a clean slate after something like that. He had NO business being anywhere near children. He sacrificed that right the first time he abused a child. I think it’s absolutely outrageous that ANYONE thinks that this is “OK”.

  • Cbenun

    The point is that when he was hired 20 years ago, he was a fresh, out-of-the closet sex offender.  That’s when it was wrong to hire him.

    • Blair Tindall

      It’s not wrong to hire Mr. Benjamin. It’s inadvisable for him to work around children, and he seems successful enough that he doesn’t need to.

  • Brick Dauntless

    A conductor, no matter how wonderful, can’t knowingly hire a repeat sex offender and allow them to be anywhere near minors.  (Zander appears to have been one of several people who wrote supportive notes at Peter Benjamin’s sentencing, so he certainly knew.)
    Speaking as an early ’80s minor victim who never pressed charges, Peter Benjamin is absolutely a monster. I wish I had the fortitude to have gone public about it then, as it might have prevented him from inflicting himself on later victims. But few 12 year olds can withstand that type of scrutiny and 30 years ago people were more likely to have held a blame-the-victim mentality than now.

    I also believe there are other victims, like myself, who have never come forward.

    It can be reasonably argued that people are overprotective with their kids today but parents should be deeply protective when it comes to predators like Peter Benjamin. This “man” deserves nothing. Having both of these men fired is just.

    • Blair Tindall

      Keep posting. If it gets through even one thick skull, it’s worth the online insults.

  • Guest

    I’m an alum from NEC, ’86-90. Ben Zander totally got what was coming to him. He’s very arrogant, no matter how “inspiring” he is to students, and what the CRAP was he thinking??, he testified at the man’s trial?!? What goes around comes around, and he had it coming. He deserved it and the punishment is just.

    • Guest

      Zander is a megalomaniac with a complete disregard for rules and propriety.  I am only surprised that it took this long for him to make a criminally poor decision.

      • Guest

        I am also from the NEC class of ’90 and also concur that Zander was and is an egomaniac of the highest degree. Read his message on his website. He demonstrates not the least bit of contriteness and basically commands the reader to sympathize with him. He is an artist-man-child with no ability to see a bigger world of responsibility around him. He will still conduct the Boston Phil and continue all of his guest conducting and motivational speaking in the US and abroad. Nobody needs to feel sorry for him.

        • Blair Tindall

          I met him once, on one of his megabucks speaking gigs ($40K per hour) and as I left with my $120 for the night, I mused on what an asshole he was when I met him. He couldn’t be bothered to talk with the peon musicians of an orchestra he wasn’t conducting. Also, we were all over the hill as adults, so no harvest for his pedophile pals.

  • Itsvonnieb

    What a horrid decision by the NEC administration
    to so severely punish Mr. Zander. This man, universally
    recognized for his positivity,has enduringly shaped so many aspiring
    musicians and music lovers. He has always believed
    in the good in people!!! And this is what he gets!!!

    The sex offender served time and NEC has ap-
    propriately banned him from campus.

    However, given the facts in this case thus far, the
    punishment meted out to Mr. Zander does not fit
    the error of his poor judgment of a decade ago.

    Bottom line: The firing of Mr. Zander is a disgrace
    to NEC and the community. We should not be silent.

    Zander

    able decade-old

    • Brick Dauntless

      He should consider himself lucky that the only thing that happened is they lost their jobs.  Can you imagine if Peter Benjamin has reoffended under Zander’s watch?  What would have been a fair punishment then?

      Not firing Mr. Zander based on his decidedly terrible judgment call – one that he took upon himself to make, and one he did not make the rest of the school aware of – would be a disgrace.

      • Blair Tindall

        He may have re-offended; as you obviously know, sex offenders often do. I really, really, want to read a story about what PB had on all these Boston elite who provided character testimony at his trial on his heinous actions. I so have a problem with all these comments that Zander should be allowed to throw a pedophile in front of children because, well, he’s a “genius.” I think even Leonard Bernstein would puke if he was labeled as such. What qualifies Zander as a genius, and why does this exempt him from the most basic moral code?

        According to the Wall Street Journal, the rate of repeat sex offenders’ crimes is a bit over 50 percent. That’s a big chance to take, and if Mr. Benjamin is all that earnest, I suggest he never accept a gig around kids again. Sounds like he has plenty of work otherwise.

  • Aloysius vanDunk

    The NEC has learned nothing from the sex abuse scandal originated by the Boston Globe Spotlight Team in 2002?  The NEC has not required that all who it employs and hires has a clean Criminal Offense Record Investigation (CORI) as required by state law for anyone working with children?  Benjamin Zander is the Joe Paterno of the NEC.  Zero Tolerance demands higher up heads must roll.

  • Cmattal1

    They’re idiots for firing such a musical genius and his presence will be sorely missed by every musician that ever walked through the doors
    Of NEC both in the prep school and the conservatory alike.

    • P Yang22

      Oh I don’t think so.  First, as a parent I’m more concerned about the welfare of my child than Mr. Zander’s genius.  Please keep in mind that we have to agree to trust that our children will be safe when going on tours to other parts of the world.  Someone who would use such poor judgment shouldn’t have the power over our children that he has had.  I applaud NEC and feel more secure now, knowing that they have taken these actions.  Also, I need to say that not every young musician at NEC was as mesmerized as you.

      • Csft588

        Sorry P Yang22, but what does any of this have to do with YPO’s CELEBRATED and famous international tours? How many students have you or your child spoken to who went on YPO tours who said they were anything but thrilling and irreplaceable? Which they were, and the China tour was FAR from a debacle, as 99% of the orchestra will say, including myself, since I was there.
        Your response is short-sighted and paranoid and plays into this current American obsession with buzz-phrases, like “sex offender” and “putting my child at risk.” 
        Ben Zander’s judgement did nothing to put kids in harm’s way. How many sex offenses can you think of take place in a rehearsal with 100 students, a conductor, and dozens of family members and friends present? The GREAT majority of Peter Benjamin’s work had NOTHING to do with YPO. By the way I have played as a principal under Leonard Slatkin, Franz Welser-Möst, David Zinman and Lorin Maazel, to name a few, and I think Zander is a  TERRIFIC musician. Why did you keep your child in YPO if you both think so little of Zander, anyway?

        PS– do you do your own personal background check on every single adult your child comes into contact with every day? Something tells me not.  

        • P Yang22

          No, that’s the whole point.  I can’t do a personal background check on everyone who comes in contact with my child.  But I don’t leave my child unsupervised and when he is on tour I have to be able to trust that he will be safe.  One of the things that has given me peace of mind is that my child has been at NEC on the weekends and not hanging out at the mall where he might not be safe.  You could say I’m overprotective, but I think I’m just protective. I am extremely unhappy that on the China tour college kids were giving alcohol to YPO members and were given carte blanche to seduce the high school aged musicians ( by the way, is YPO such an astonishing youth orchestra because so many of the “youths” are in their 20s, in college and aren’t youths or members of NEC prep school at all?–but that’s another discussion).  You might have had a fabulous time in China, but if and when you have a child you might feel differently about these things.  You can’t imagine how much you worry as a parent.
           
          How was your trip home, by the way?  Did you get stuck in China?  Were you able to get home with a chaperone accompanying you?  Did you miss any of your summer music camp?  One might blame this on the administration, but the current administration is new and clearly is trying to clean up things.  Apparently there are even more things that the administration is unhappy about with Mr. Zander, but this alone is enough. 
           
          If Peter Benjamin did nothing for 20 years, that’s terrific.  But how could Zander know that would be the case?  Many people keep saying that Peter Benjamin was supervised when at NEC, but when he committed rape he did it in his house.  Somehow he invited those boys to his home, they didn’t just materialize there.  Zander was the only one who knew about his past.  He was not supervising him; he was conducting and I suspect the last thing on his mind was whether there was any possibility that Peter Benjamin could be chatting with Prep students.
           
          I appreciate your dismay and support of Mr. Zander, but when you are older you may be able to see things differently.
           

          • P Yang22

            To clarify for readers who might not know about the China tour.  YPO missed the connection home and all were stuck in China.  They went home in small lots as seats opened on various flights.  Many were stuck again in Chicago and most missed the first week of their summer festival/camp sessions.  This may have been the administration’s fault, but those administrators are no longer at NEC.  It seems to me that Tony Woodcock is trying very hard to make NEC a safe, responsible and credible institution.

          • Blair Tindall

            @P Yang22, please keep posting no matter what the responses. If you can get through to even one kid or parent it’s worth it. Strange situation, all these defenders, eh?

          • P Yang22

            Yes, it’s very distressing.  I don’t understand how people don’t see the risk involved.  Many of these kids are very precocious and will talk to anyone, especially someone with cool video equipment, etc.  It is very lucky if nothing has happened. 

          • Blair Tindall

            Something may have happened that will never be reported because the kid is scared. My PB consented to this gig is a mystery. I would think someone in his position would remove himself from any questionable situation. That says a lot, doesn’t it?

          • Blair Tindall

            Woops, meant, “that PB, not my PB”

        • Blair Tindall

          @Guest, oh, celebrated and famous. Then it’s ok to rape my kids.

    • Blair Tindall

      So let’s get this straight. If you are perceived as a genius (subjective), then you have the right to place a pedophile in the path of innocent children. OK, then, got it.

  • Dhessan

    What no one has mentioned is that Peter Benjamin is a videographer used by almost all of the musical organizations in the city:  orchestras, the Boston opera, and more.  It’s not as if someone covered it all up and snuck him in just for the Youth Philharmonic.  The loss of Benjamin Zander is enormous for our city, and the NEC firing him — as opposed to the NEC administration – is an outrageous overreaction, and a misplacement of blame – especially in light of the fact that their was no policy for background checking anyone.    I feel sorry for the children in the orchestra that they are going to lose an unparallelled source of inspiration.  When the details come out, I have a feeling we will learn that Woodcock was on a witchhunt against Zander and that this move has nothing to do with his sudden need to protect his children.

    • Necguy25333

      That’s exactly what it was. Woodcock and Zander (two huge egos) had been battling for some time, and this was the straw that broke the camel’s back. I’m not taking a position on whether Zander was right or wrong, just want the facts to come out. 

      • Blairtin

        Gotcha, it is a complex issue with more than one story.

    • Blair Tindall

      Oh for God’s sake. Can no one see that Zander is the Leon Botstein of Boston?

  • netstoyou+

    Zander was indescribably stupid. How could he allow this man to be intimately involved in a youth orchestra which he had control over? If he wanted to give the man a job, it should have been far away from young boys! Zander put his friend’s needs before that of the children. He deserves to be fired. Why did this take so long to be discovered?

  • AJ

    There is no scandal. Nothing happened. Mr. Zander’s only responsibility is to the musical nurturing of these children which for decades he has done better than anyone. The administration is charged with the protection of children and it should have been their duty to take care of this 20 years ago.

    But as a member of the Youth Philharmonic on their tours in 2005 and 2007 to South America and China I can tell you that there should have been a scandal then. College age students often accompany the YPO on tours to fill out the weaker sections with more skilled older players. On these tours college aged students, i.e. adults, provided alcohol and drugs to the younger students i.e. minors. Not only this but there were many instances of college students having sex with these young students. These are all huge crimes. The administration did nothing to protect these children then and essentially dismissed and covered up these claims as unprovable rumors. 

    I challenge any news organization to open up an investigation of these and other tours and see what scandals really took place. I’m confident you will find Mr. Zander always acted in the musical best interest of the children while the administration charged with their safety and security while on tour consistently looked the other way.

    • P Yang22

      This is not the same administration as in 2005 and 2007.  Tony Woodcock came onboard in June of 2007.  The China debacle was probably his baptism.

      • Blair Tindall

        Good point, P Yang.

    • LOL

      Sounds like someone is just mad he couldn’t get any on those trips!

  • Nancylee53

    The blame should go to the administrators of NEC, who fail to run CORI reports on their employees.

    • pocky

      There was obviously a gross lack of organization going on within NEC’s Prep division for them to not have a CORI policy.  As a professional musician who has done numerous outreach gigs, I am *extremely* surprised to learn that NEC Prep School did not require all its contractors to complete a CORI form.  If this had been done Peter would never have been hired for prep school gigs, and that would have been the end of it.  I suspect that more heads other than Zander’s may roll once this is all said and done.

    • Blair Tindall

      You’re right there — no faculty member should be in charge of hiring a vendor. How did this slip through?

      • Kros

        The faculty (the administration) is where the buck stops. They know the laws and checks that are to be followed. They did not do their job. Castigating Ben is not where the ultimate blame should be placed by concerned parents no matter how you may judge Ben’s decisicion – THE ADMINISTRATION DROPPED THE BALL AND IS THE ACCOUNTABLE PARTY. No one has asked for the administrations team to be dismissed and this must be done as they were asleep at the wheel.

        • Blairtin

          Sorry, I cant post as anything but guest on this new iPad, but I’m Blair Tindall. I wholeheartedly agree with you that the nec administration is at serious fault. But someone needs to look into why Mr. Zander supported this person so vehemently. From a moral standard, I understand why people think he shouldn’t have been fired. On the other hand, nec, which I hope will have to step up to the plate, didn’t have much of a choice from a agaves purely legal standpoint. But some other heads may roll, although I’m not clear who would press charges.

          • Blairtin

            Aw geez, autocorrect, argh.

  • IAmNotATroll

    Okay I am probably going to get a lot of flack for this, but some of you people digust me. Or maybe it’s just the legal/employment system as a whole that does.
    It’s always bothered me how the system with “sex offender” work, being marked on a map and having to walk around with a label on you (much like in The Scarlet Letter). Of course, that would depend on how serious their crime is.

    When I first heard about this news, I assumed that the Zander guy was forced to resign because he hired him NOT knowing he was a “registered sex offender”. That would have been far worse IMO, because then he could be faulted for not doing a background check. If he knew, however, I don’t think he completely disregarded that fact.

    The thing is, the way you people talk, you act like these “sex offenders” are monsters and not human beings, unstoppable loose cannons that will stay that way until they die, or rather, it’s impossible for them to reform. And yeah now you probably all wanna attack me for having the balls to say a positive thing.

    But hear me out here, the way I see it, if Mr. Zander hired this guy, he must have found Peter Benjamin very valuable, but he also must have had a very sound reason to be extremely 100% confident that he wouldn’t do that again. I know, that would normally be up to someone like a shrink or psychologist, which Zander himself is not. But, for all we know, he could’ve consulted with them. Bottom line is, I really, REALLY don’t think Zander just gave him that job on a silver platter saying “oh, so you’re a sex offender, whatever, that’s water under a bridge, it happened over 20 years ago so it probably won’t happen again, just don’t let me down”.
    I highly doubt someone with a reputation like this Zander guy seems to have would be that stupid. I’m sure he processed and covered all the bases to ensure there were no risks. It’s called thinking for yourself and not being close-minded, and I commend him for that.

    Now… DID anything happen while he was employed? NO! That’s what sickens me most about this, he was just doing his job! He didn’t “offend” anyone, he didn’t molest anyone, and people liked him. All that happened was a little information was leaked. If that’s not sad then I don’t know what is.

    Now, as for him not telling anyone else. What, you expect him to announce it to the entire staff? “HEY, I’M HIRING A SEX OFFENDER, JUST BE WARNED”. He’s the manager first of all, he can disclose whatever the hell he wants, and it would dumb to tell everyone that and you morons know that and I don’t need to explain why it would be dumb. Like I said, he most likely secured all risks and he probably could have worked for another 20 years and still be harmless and no one would ever know about his past and no one would get hurt or traumatized.

    But, of course, there is a matter of reality as well, like I mentioned at first, it would depend on how serious this crime is. I mean, for instance, some people in high school can be dumb and immature and commit things which can be considered “sex offense” such as groping or whatever, and they serve time for it or face charges or whatever, and yet they still have the potential to grow up to be successful businessmen. Now IF that was the case with Peter Benjamin, then I’d be defending him, but it seems to not be. But, I don’t doubt a lot of the dehumanizing comments I’m seeing would be the same.
    But, seeing as he apparently molested a little boy, that’s the kind of thing that would a lot of people uncomfortable (even though believe it or not in some places MURDERERS have more of a chance of getting a job than “sex offenders”), especially parents, and because of that, he should definitely resign.

    However, I still stand by what I said about Zander most likely having “secured confidence” about Peter Benjamin, despite what happened, but I can’t say I understand it, and if I went to that school or was a parent there, I wouldn’t feel comfortable knowing that and would probably be angry, like many others. Sure, for all we know Zander still probably was sure nothing would happen if he kept him and he probably still could have continued working without anyone getting hurt or traumatized, but when information like that leaks, if I were in his shoes, the wise choice would be to resign and run, rather than trying to explain and justify it to the world. With that knowledge in the light, few students would trust him and feel comfortable, regardless of what Zander himself thinks.

    • Brick Dauntless

      He did not have to announce to his staff that Peter Benjamin was a level 2 sex offender, but he certainly had the duty to report it to his superiors and/or the HR department.  Failing to do so was dumb, and I’m surprised I have to explain it.  To use your own charming words, are you a moron?
      People that have achieved great success in one field often assume their abilities translate into other fields when they rarely do.  Zander is not trained or experienced to determine whether a convicted child rapist will reoffend.  His lay opinion on whether Peter Benjamin was a risk to minors holds no value whatsoever.  None.
      And as far as not reoffending, nobody knows that.  We only know nobody has come forward yet.  Many people are aware that victims of sex crimes often do not report it.  I did not come forward against Peter Benjamin.  I know personally that the crimes he was convicted for are not the only sex violations he has committed.  He is a skilled predator.  And if you feel that’s a dehumanizing term, try to imagine being a child sex victim.  I will call him whatever I please; I owe him nothing.
      Peter Benjamin’s statement said that the program he went through has a 5% recidivism rate.  If that’s true, only 1 in 20 ‘graduates’ will rape another child and be convicted of it.  Should any of those 20 be near minors?  Should they be working at a school?  It’s not as if the school was the only place Peter Benjamin could find employment.  Is his job worth risking the rape of a child?
      Most sensible people easily conclude this was terrifically poor judgment on Zander’s part.  I know nothing of Zander or this school’s politics, but I can say that you can’t give your enemies ammunition.  This was more than enough.  The blame is at Zander’s feet no matter how you slice it.I have read Zander’s statement on his web site and as far as “living in possibility,” perhaps he should consider living in the possibility that his friend could have raped another child while Zander arrogantly presumed he was a qualified judge of convicted sexual predators.

      • Brick Dauntless

        I have no idea why this commenting system removed my paragraph breaks.

      • IAmNotATroll

        “He did not have to announce to his staff that Peter Benjamin was a level
        2 sex offender, but he certainly had the duty to report it to his
        superiors and/or the HR department.  Failing to do so was dumb, and I’m
        surprised I have to explain it.  To use your own charming words, are you
        a moron?”

        -No,  that’s not what I said, I was arguing against the people who said the whole staff had to know, as well as every parent (seriously?). But yeah I guess he messed up in not telling the superior. Like I said at the end, I believe the only risk he really took was for what ended up happening, having that information leaked and committing career suicide.

        “People that have achieved great success in one field often assume their
        abilities translate into other fields when they rarely do.  Zander is
        not trained or experienced to determine whether a convicted child rapist
        will reoffend.  His lay opinion on whether Peter Benjamin was a risk to
        minors holds no value whatsoever.  None.”

        -Did you bother to even read my entire post? I said exactly this. He most likely consulted shrinks and judges before going ahead and letting him in. The only thing Zander himself can determine is whether Peter would be a valuable asset to the school if it wasn’t for his dark past, which he was.

        “And as far as not reoffending, nobody knows that.  We only know nobody
        has come forward yet.  Many people are aware that victims of sex crimes
        often do not report it.  I did not come forward against Peter Benjamin.
         I know personally that the crimes he was convicted for are not the only
        sex violations he has committed.  He is a skilled predator.  And if you
        feel that’s a dehumanizing term, try to imagine being a child sex
        victim.  I will call him whatever I please; I owe him nothing.”

        -Did he molest you recently or something? You just implied that… well in that case I would stand corrected and I’m sorry. That, or if you have been exposed to concrete evidence that he still does it on a regular basis.

        “Peter Benjamin’s statement said that the program he went through has a
        5% recidivism rate.  If that’s true, only 1 in 20 ‘graduates’ will rape
        another child and be convicted of it.  Should any of those 20 be near
        minors?  Should they be working at a school?  It’s not as if the school
        was the only place Peter Benjamin could find employment.  Is his job
        worth risking the rape of a child?”

        -Yeah, it is a bit scary that of all places to be employed and hide that fact, it’s a place near children, definitely agreed there. But yeah my post was aimed at those who made it sound like he shouldn’t be employed anywhere. Sadly though, if he was working at a college or something, or a well respected executive branch, or any well respected business NOT involving children, people still would have gone apeshyt over this, and the guy who employed him would probably keep it to himself, simply because it’s not relevant. Though in this case it is, but I’m talking about employment in general.

        “Most sensible people easily conclude this was terrifically poor judgment
        on Zander’s part.  I know nothing of Zander or this school’s politics,
        but I can say that you can’t give your enemies ammunition.  This was
        more than enough.  The blame is at Zander’s feet no matter how you slice
        it.I have read Zander’s statement on his web site and as far as “living
        in possibility,” perhaps he should consider living in the possibility
        that his friend could have raped another child while Zander arrogantly
        presumed he was a qualified judge of convicted sexual predators.”

        -Well like I said, I already mentioned this and my thoughts on that… but if Zander really admitted that he made that decision independently himself without consulting shrinks or judges like I assumed, then yes, he’s as good as toast.

      • IAmNotATroll

        Oh shit, Brick, dammit I totally missed your earlier comment! Figures I only noticed a few. Guess I take back most of what was said.

    • PeterThePedophile

      HOW CAN YOU (and so many others) SAY THAT PETER HASN’T REOFFENDED???
      How do you know how many more of his victims haven’t come forward?
      Please, help me understand
      How can you know how many of his victims haven’t reported their abuse?

      • Blair TIndall

        You are correct. 

  • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/YFPQ3H4JYVQCWANOT2WCRLGH5Y pw

    FOR THOSE WHO
    CARE TO KNOW WHO IS MOSTLY ON THE SEX OFFENDER REGISTRY.

    1.Worst of
    all, the falsely accused, truly innocent and wrongfully imprisoned
    who are victims as much as victims of any other kind of crime. There
    are far more of these than most people realize and it’s happened
    because of the hysteria about these type of crimes that came to have
    few distinctions made between the truly dangerous and non dangerous.
    This kind of crime is the EASIEST to falsely accuse someone of and
    get away with it and overly zealous prosecutors call it “EASY
    WIN” cases and regard them as more notches in their legal gun
    belts.

    2. If
    someone is 19 & has a girlfriend 15 or 16& it’s consensual
    -If someone reports it (often malicious),

    3. if
    someone gets drunk & urinates in a public place,

    4. if
    someone sees a teen prostitute (Even if she lied about her age, which
    they often do to the john and the police but this does not help
    anyone’s case),

    5. If
    someone streaks or moons someone, they can & do end up on the
    registry.

    6. And
    the horrific sounding “child” porn-? almost all of it is
    teens. Is there NO difference in your mind bet. a man going after a
    10 yr. old & someone LOOKING at a 15 or 16 yr. old posing nude or
    doing something sexual on the net?

    Distinctions
    don’t seem to matter when it comes to sex offenses.Why is that? With
    other crimes, it matters.

    No wonder they
    couldn’t find Garrido .so many on the registry that don’t belong
    there, that bloated it. These laws are so unjust, so extreme. But the
    self-righteous, hateful, off with their ‘s fanatics want to bring
    back Salem. I hope more rational minds will prevail. The registry may
    serve to unduly frighten or provide a false sense of security for
    many parents, may titillate those who use it for amusement but make
    no mistake, it is ruining people’s lives who do NOT deserve it. Right
    now there are so many non-dangerous people on there. Some have been
    murdered,imprisoned or killed themselves. I guess the fanatics are
    happy about that. ”

    If you care
    about justice, educate yourself and help us in this David-Goliath
    fight Catching and persecuting people who don’t deserve it doesn’t
    help protect our children from those who do.

    http://www.thecrimereport.org/news/inside-criminal-justice/2011-05-are-we-being-smart-about-sex-offenders

    http://ilvoices.com/media/23945d47d1a0fd37ffff810bffffe415.pdf

    http://www.reformsexoffenderlaws.org/

    Read Jim and
    Nancy Petro’s book “False Justice” and Richard Wrights’
    “Sex Offender Laws: Failed Policies, New Directions” See
    the movie “Conviction” and Sean Penn’s “Witch hunt”
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b0C2aQprdIM

    • Brick Dauntless

      Unfortunately, that has nothing to do with Peter Benjamin, who is a convicted child rapist – a level 2 offender.  This wasn’t a 19-year-old sending a 17-year-old a sext or taking a drunken leak somewhere.  Don’t muddy the waters.

      Also, accusations don’t get you convictions.  That’s why we have something called ‘evidence.’

      • https://me.yahoo.com/a/X5rD81kekuDzRtux6LOeH8izQJF1edbyjxMxiLDMQvqfyg--#65bfd Shelly Stow

        Accusations do indeed get convictions if it is a child or young teen making the accusations. Psychologists have said so often and so loudly that children don’t lie about being molested that everyone believes them. They do lie. When they are young, they are coached to lie by mommy to get back at daddy. When they are young teens, they lie to avoid parental wrath at their sexual activity. They lie out of anger at adults they are angry with.  And all it takes is that child pointing a finger at an adult and saying, “He touched me,” and it’s all over. 
        One middle school student accused her gym teacher because he didn’t play the music she liked during class.
        And yes, I know, this doesn’t relate to Peter Benjamin either, but if you truly believe that accusations with no evidence cannot result in convictions and in plea bargains coerced by D.A.’s, then other people believe it, and the truth needs to be told.

    • Blair Tindall

      @yahoo-YFPQ3H4JYVQCWANOT2WCRLGH5Y:disqus I have a young friend who is on the registry because he had sex with his GF when he was 18 and she was 17. Her parents got pissed, now he’s a sex offender. Both were HS seniors at the time. So you have a point that people need to understand.
      Peter Benjamin is not in that category. He was convicted on multiple offenses, some of them of videotaping himself having sex with underage boys. And now lots of people think he should have a job videotaping underage boys. Logic is unclear here.

  • pocky

    What everyone seems to keep missing here is that the vast majority of the work that Peter Benjamin was doing for NEC was filming graduate school and college performances, which involve no children whatsoever.  Less than 10% of the work he did was for the prep school, and EVEN DURING HIS PROBATION his probation department SPECIFICALLY ALLOWED him to film performances with children as long as there were other adults assisting him!!!

    So, my question is…  If the Commonwealth of Massachusetts was completely OK with Peter filming performances with children DURING his probation, how was Zander to be expected to think that hiring Peter would be a firable offense many years later?

    Now, from my perspective, having been brought into this business in the age of CORI, it seems ridiculous that Zander would not think that CORI checks would be required of everyone working for the prep school (as opposed to the graduate and college programs).  But Zander is 72 years old and came into this business long before such things were commonplace.  Granted, someone in this business is required to keep up on the latest policies, but is that really Zander’s fault, or is it the HR department’s fault?

    In my opinion, the problem here that caused everything to spin out of control is that NEC Prep School did not have a CORI policy for independent contractors, which would have required background checks which would have simply prevented Peter from doing the prep school gigs.  The reason they didn’t have a CORI policy is probably because their HR is NEC’s central HR, which is used to only dealing with adults, and never thought to consider that a percentage of NEC’s work involves children, so they ought to adjust their rules to deal with this.  This seems to me like a massive oversight.

    I gotta say, having known and worked for Peter, he never tried to hide the fact that he was a registered sex offender.  You bet your bottom dollar tons of people at NEC knew it.  

    The fact that this all blew up right now all smells fishy to me, and Zander’s most recent post on his blog only confirms the fishiness:  http://benjaminzander.com/news/item/490

    • pocky

      Found the answer. New Globe article just released tonight:

      Schwartzman [a spokeswoman for the Conservatory] acknowledged during the weekend that the institution did not follow its own policies to protect children. She said that in November 2010 the school began screening its vendors for criminal backgrounds, not just staff and volunteers, which they had previously done to comply with state law. They did not check Benjamin’s background, however.

      Mark my words, numerous heads will roll. :)
      http://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2012/01/16/new-england-conservatory-defends-departure-conductor-benjamin-zander/PywHWfHuNxdupThB0Q1xXJ/story.html

      • Peterthepedophile

        To “Pocky”:
        Are/were you one of the near-pubescent boys that Peter would bring along to all of his jobs?  That always creeped me out.  60-something, and still playing with (err…. offering opportunities to) little boys.

         -Once another one of those boys.

    • Brick Dauntless

      It can be both Zander and the administration’s fault.  That doesn’t exculpate Zander.

      I don’t think everyone is missing what you think they are.  Zero percent of Peter Benjamin’s work should have been near minors, not 10%, 5%, or 1%.  Had a CORI check been run, or had the administration know about his status beforehand, would he have been contracted for this ongoing work?  Zander did know Peter Benjamin’s status.  Though unqualified to do so, he determined it was safe for a child rapist to work potentially unsupervised with minors and therefore to put minors at risk and the school at financial risk.  That decision was wrong.  You may disagree with the penalty but genius does not excuse dangerous lapses in judgment.

      And the Commonwealth probation requirements are not the proverbial high bar.  It’s not against the law to hire an alcoholic as your bartender – even one who just got out of rehab – but you’d be a fool to do so.

      As far as the administration, if it is a competent organization anyone else responsible for creating this risk will be treated appropriately.

      • Blairtin

        Brick, I’m with you 100 percent.

    • Dave

      Peter Benjamin IS a convicted child rapist. They were looking to fire Zander. That’s enough to fire him.

      There was no disclosure to the parents. Was that due to conductor ego, absentee supervision, or a combination of both?

      What’s next? Zander will put out a press release on Bill Clinton’s infidelities? 

  • Blair Tindall

    Zander testified at Benjamin’s sex-offender trial. So did many other Boston Brahmin. You’ve got to wonder why? Usually rich and powerful people don’t want to be associated with trailer trash. So he’s either related to, boinking, or has some dirt on one of them.

    And world-renowned? No one has ever heard of Zander outside of Boston. He’s never conducted a professional orchestra outside of the London Symphony, which I suspect he hired for the week it took to record the Mahler cycle.

    I was a professional musician in NYC for 25 years. No one there knows who this clown is, unless you were plagued with playing an off-the-books budget concert where he did one of his corporate $40K speaking gigs.

    • Grumpypatron

      I live in San Diego and have heard of him. I have all of his recordings.

      • Blair Tindall

        How many are there?

    • Guest

      It’s not the London Symphony, it’s the Philharmonia Orchestra, and the Mahler cycle isn’t finished– the project has been going on for probably for eight or nine years or so, and they have finished all but a couple of the symphonies. 

      PS– your comments on both this forum and the Lebrecht blog are mean-spirited and odious. 

      • Blair Tindall

        So is having a pedophile videotape your children.

        • Blair Tindall

          @Guest (what, no real name?), my bad. You are correct, it was the Philharmonia Orchestra. And Norman Lebrecht is himself thoroughly mean-spirited and odious. I have the misfortune of knowing the individual — I can’t even call him a man.

        • Blair Tindall

          Furthermore, why would it take a decade to record nine symphonies? Fundraising?

    • Kris

      Sounds like you have a personal axe to grind with Ben based on your remarks throughout this post. Are you the same woman who dressed in black and slipped into your ex’s garden and tried to accost him with concentrated weed killer that comes up when you are googled?

      • Blair Tindall

        Nope.

      • Blair Tindall

        No, more than one person has the name I do. The reporter did not do due diligence, as you did not.

      • P Yang22

        This is very rude.  The first listing that pops up when searching on Google for Ms. Tindall is from Wikipedia.  I’m pretty sure you know she’s a very accomplished musician and journalist.  I searched on “Kris”.  Are you the Kris who’s a convicted felon?

    • Dekehoe_007

      Just FYI I don’t live in or around Boston and I DO know who Mr. Zander is and NOT because of this current situation.  Also, he made that Mahler cycle with the Philharmonia Orchestra of London, not the LSO.  People make mistakes…it shouldn’t diminish what positive things they have accomplished.  Just a thought.

  • Blumberg99

    I am a member of YPO and I just want to say that I’m shocked at the entire incident. It was an unfortunate and unforgivable mistake made by an incredible person. Ben Zander made YPO and indeed NEC what it is today, and he will live on as a testament to the name of classical music forever.

    • Pmb1904

      Hi Blumberg99– There is a Facebook page that was created with 7 important questions directed towards Mr. Woodcock, written by the well-known British music write Norman Lebrecht. ‘Like’ it and tell other YPO members and your friends and colleagues also. 

      Here’s the link:

      http://www.facebook.com/pages/Seven-questions-to-sack-happy-Tony-Woodcock-by-Norman-Lebrecht/310399762336618

    • Blair Tindall

      @Blumberg99, yours is the most intelligent statement I’ve read on this sad issue.

      • Blumberg99

        Thank you. It’s important for people to realize that Mr. Zander is not a stupid person and this incident is the result of a mistake, not a public demonstration of his laziness or irresponsibility.

  • Blair Tindall

    Today’s editorial in the Globe:

    http://tinyurl.com/78zb7r6l

  • P Yang22
  • Squantum58

    As a young dancer in 1975, I was one of Peter Benjamin’s early ‘conquests. ‘   Until I heard about Zander’s abrupt firing, I had no idea Mr. Benjamin was even living in this area.  While my own experience with Mr. Benjamin was far from traumatizing, my heart goes out to any victim of pedophilia under any circumstance.  I question Mr. Zander’s thought process in hiring Benjamin to perform any task in the presence of children — supervised or otherwise.  Has Mr. Zander yet apologized to the parents of his youth symphony for his serious lack of judgment ?

    • Brick Dauntless

      I believe he did apologize on his website recently: http://benjaminzander.com/news/item/493

      I also have prior personal experience with Peter Benjamin, as does at least one other poster who says he was a victim in the late ’60s.  I may have mentioned somewhere (or maybe it was to my girlfriend) that I kind of assumed he had passed away.  I had searched the sex offender registry once or twice in the past decade, unaware he was classified as a moderate-risk level 2 offender.  Child rapists have one of the highest rates of recidivism, so I mistakenly assumed it would be level 3.

      I moved on a long time ago and it sounds like you did too.  I wish you well on your journey.

    • Jewels Wolf

       I am just now finding out about Mr. Zander because a friend of mine recommended his book “The Art of Possibility”.   Once you have read some of the book you will gain an understanding of Mr. Zanders thought process.   Gaining that understand may help you see how Mr. Zander could make such a critical error in judgement.  His problem is that he does judge things like most people would.  He has ‘invented’ his own rules.     That’s OK if you live by yourself on an island.   Mr. Zander and his followers live in a sort of fantasy land reality where their minds can ‘construct’ things the way they want them to be.  Mr. Zander needed to check his own version of reality with the one the rest of us live in before he knowingly hired a pedophile to work for him.

  • Brick Dauntless

    Blair Tidwell (and others), I just wanted to say thank you for injecting more sense here.  I was absolutely shocked by the ignorance when I first found these comments over a week ago.  I later concluded that most of those comments came from student supporters, for whom such ignorance is less shocking.  But there are still a number of adults – even parents – who should know better.

    Again, I appreciate your opinion and your effort to remind people of the very, very basic facts here and why the outcome was warranted, regardless of any background politics.  Best wishes to all.

    • P Yang22

      I would like to second that and also to thank you, Brick Dauntless, for your posts.  It is mind-boggling that adults, who were quick to judgment in support of  Mr. Zander, refuse to reassess their positions.  I will never understand how any adult could continue to support  Mr. Zander after reading your  posts.

  • David Kimball

    I do not know the spcifics of this case.  But I do know that we need a different term for intergeneartional sex.  According to the law, intergenerational sex is considered “rape” even if it is concensual.  It isn’t.  And the problem is that once a person is charged with intergenerational sex, they are treated as rapists.  They should not be.  Perhaps they should be guilty of a violation, but not rape.  The emotional impact that the term rape has is too great to be applied where it doesn’t belong.

    Again, I do not know the specifics of this case to know whether it is actual rape or intergenerational sex.  But a person guilty of intergenerational sex should be held to a different “life sentence” – that is, a criminal penalty that they must bear for their live even though not in prison. 

  • Bobyfish

    remind me of Doctor mariuma from the Bronx.

  • Abso2009

    You have got to be kidding me.  This is ridiculous.  Look at all the positive things Mr. Zander has done for both the business community to the musical community.   what a tragic and idiotic thing to get out in the news…. Famous conductor, hires someone who has had a bad past?  Did anyone not think that Zander had eyes on him and was trying to utilize the art of possibility to get this person back into the real world.   I am disgusted that this is even a news story and that it taints zanders positive work up until this point.  the media has become the pot and the kettle.  I am so  sad that the human race has to stoop to Jerry springier level and make this man have a black mark,  And it will, because human beings do not like when something is going great and positive transformation is about to happen, they clutch on to what minuscule things they can and narcissistic-ally put him up to show for their very own 15 minutes of fame.  Does his own history, ethics, and all of the things he has  done now get wiped away by one bad hiring decisions?  Are all of you so sure that you have perfect people with no records or do you know someone who needs help and you offer it – oops no sorry can’t help you out there it might taint my reputation you must be  perfect……
    Do any if you have someone in your circle of your life that might had done bad things and may do them again, but you still try to help and include so that the person can reenter to some sense of normalcy and be watched closely - which I am sure he was.   because of one person trying to make a change to make a change in a positive direction.  I must ask each and every one of you to start looking at who your paperboy is or who is videoing your wedding…. Mr Zanser did not put people in jeopardy by giving a person a chance, no one was harmed (except Zander), nothing happened on Mr. Zander’s watch.  I ask you to look into your circle of friends, employees, household staff, drivers, whatever….someone that is really my hero said let yea who is without sin cast the first stone…… Mr zander gave a bad guy an opportunity, that’s it…. and everyone is ready to shame him?  Please, let’s talk about the oval office.   There has to be more or better news elsewhere, let’s look into all the backgrounds of who hired whom…. Washington, no mistakes made there, Hollywood? oh please, your daycare provider?  Have you gotten all the background checks on them?  your gardener, your mailman, the grocery store clerk, and on and on and on….It must have been a pretty slow news day to blast into the public that mr zander hired someone who had a bad background check.  stop it. take a look in the mirror – look at all the people you come in contact with in one day.  are they people you depend on?  do you know what they were doing 20 years ago?  have you ever been in a bad place and needed help from someone   If anyone deserves an apology – it is Mr. Zander. I am devastated that his wonderful work all these years will now be clouded by a hiring decision.  That is truly pitiful.  and I have a quote from a friend of mine that backs me up.”And forgive us our trespasses,
    As we forgive them that trespass against us. ” okay – I’m done…go on about your day be careful who you work with, for or hire…it might some day damage your reputation and your credibility.

  • BeingD

    Exceptionally poor journalism where both the author and the editor should be fired.  “Benjamin” as in Zander and “Benjamin” as in the offender used without distintion in the article. 

    • Jacamwolf

       As this is very old news I am really rather mystified as to why you are replying to comments on this story.

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