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MPR News

Innocence Lost: explained

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A reporter talking with a woman
Correspondent Marianne Combs speaks with one of the the abuse survivors during a protest outside the Children’s Theatre Company.
William Lager | MPR News

In the series of articles and radio reports beginning today titled “Innocence Lost,” MPR News aims to offer the fullest telling to date of the sexual abuse that plagued Children’s Theatre Company in the 1960s, ’70s and ’80s.

Our chief means of doing so is our collection of first-person accounts by survivors of that abuse. In painstaking interviews, correspondent Marianne Combs has gathered those stories from more than two dozen survivors. Some say they have been trying to tell their stories for decades; others say they expected to take them to their graves. Combs also spoke with former CTC employees, parents of students, and people involved with the initial investigation and litigation in the 1980s.

Some survivors have been willing to have their names disclosed publicly; others have asked that their identities be kept confidential. We have been careful to abide by their wishes. We have also taken care not to focus on any single survivor’s experience so closely that we might risk adding to their trauma. Accordingly, we have blended some of the most difficult parts of survivor’s stories into a montage of voices, which we hope will convey the totality of the picture without causing unnecessary pain to any individuals.

We would like to acknowledge that Children’s Theatre Company is a financial supporter of Minnesota Public Radio.

This project is the work of correspondent Marianne Combs; photojournalists Christine Nguyen and Evan Frost; web designer and illustrator Will Lager; senior editor Eric Ringham, and managing editor Laura McCallum.

Were you a student at the Children’s Theatre Company and have a story to share? Contact Marianne Combs to share your story