3 Schools Cut Ties With Boston Professor Accused of Abuse

Three schools are cutting ties with a well-known professor in the Boston music scene after a Boston Globe investigation into alleged sexual mistreatment and bullying at the Conservatory at Berklee and other area schools.

Eric Hewitt, a conductor and saxophonist, has lost his positions at the Boston Conservatory and Boston College High School. He has been placed on leave from Phillips Exeter Academy.

The Globe investigation made headlines in early November, when they reported that several students at Berklee College of Music claimed they were assaulted, groped or pressured into sex with teachers.

The Globe reports that during that investigation, four former Boston Conservatory students said in interviews that Hewitt sent unwanted text messages, bullied them, made lewd phone calls, and in one case, sexually assaulted one of them during a period dating to 2012.

The four women said that Hewitt used his sway at the school to hold power over students.

Boston Conservatory Executive Director Cathy Young said in a statement that Hewitt handed in his resignation on Nov. 20 to be effective at the end of the semester. The school placed him on leave on Nov. 28 following information brought to the school's attention and says he will not be returning.

It was not clarified why exactly Hewitt was placed on leave, but Young said the campus is dedicated to making a safe environment.

"My sincerest sympathies are with any past or current member of our community who has experienced any form of harassment or misconduct," said Young. "Creating a safe, respectful, and diverse environment at Boston Conservatory at Berklee is central to our mission and essential to the work we do as a community." 

Phillips Exeter Principal Instructor Lisa MacFarlane said in a statement that Hewitt has been placed on leave from his adjunct teaching position since the allegations arose and is barred from campus until a "satisfactory resolution" is reached.

She said that no reports against Hewitt have been filed and that he has "never lived on campus or had advisory or dormitory responsibilities."

"Any conduct that results in the potential harm of our students will not be tolerated," she said. "Exeter has extensive policies and procedures that govern our hiring process, and clear guidelines for the conduct of all faculty and staff to ensure that prompt action is taken in the event of inappropriate conduct. In addition, our training programs provide all employees with the guidance and tools to help ensure healthy and safe student-adult relationships."

She encourages anyone with information on concerning behavior to contact her. 

The Globe reports Boston College High School has severed their contract with Hewitt, who has not yet released a statement.

Hewitt has reportedly declined comment.

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