On Thursday, the Inquirer and Daily News published an investigation into a pattern of abuse involving the head of one of the world's best drum corps, the Allentown-based Cadets.
Nine women came forward to reporter Tricia Nadolny, detailing their experience of alleged sexual abuse and harassment by Cadets director George Hopkins. The women described abuse that occurred over the span of four decades. Some of the accusers were teenagers during the time of alleged incidents, which ranged from inappropriate comments to rape.
After the story published Thursday, Hopkins resigned from his position. Here's a quick guide for those who want to catch up on the situation and learn more about the Cadets.
The Cadets are a prestigious traveling drum and bugle corp that was founded in 1934 in New Jersey and moved to Allentown in 2004.
The corps has earned a reputation as one of the oldest and most competitive in the country, with accolades that range from a performance at the closing ceremony for the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta to marching in President Barack Obama's inaugural parade in 2008.
The Cadets are composed of more than 100 men and women who auditioned for a spot on the corps. They range in age from 16 and 23. Practices to nail a 12-minute routine are grueling, sometimes lasting up to 15 hours a day throughout the summer. The group is run by Youth Education in the Arts, an Allentown nonprofit.
Hopkins, 61, is credited with leading the team to 10 world championships.
Drum corps is often compared to marching band but with added theatrics. Watch The Cadets perform at The Drum Corps International World Championships in Indianapolis last year:
Hopkins was hired by the Cadets in 1979, becoming director three years later. He had been considered among the best directors in the drum corps community. Hopkins also served as CEO of Youth Education in the Arts, earning nearly $177,000 in 2016.
An intense and charismatic leader, he was known for his "Hop Talks," inspirational speeches that could last well over an hour.
"It was like Hopkins was God," Kim Carter, who was a member of the Cadets before being hired by the organization, told the Inquirer and Daily News. "When he spoke, you listened."
The Inquirer and Daily News' investigation detailed the experiences of nine women who alleged abuse by Hopkins that ranged from inappropriate comments to groping to rape. The alleged misconduct began in 1980, with incidents occurring as recently as a few years ago, according to the accusers, who were between 16 and 37 at the time of the alleged abuse.
Youth Education in the Arts' board was made aware of some of the allegations earlier this year, hiring its attorney's law firm to conduct an investigation.
"The investigation was conducted professionally and vigorously," the board said. "Unfortunately, there was no cooperation at all from anyone making those accusations. Despite our pleas for cooperation, we were told so long as George remained in his role, no one would allow herself to be interviewed or reveal any facts that might confirm the allegations. No responsible board of directors can take action based solely on anonymous allegations."
Drum Corps International, the sanctioning body for the activity, called the allegations "deeply troubling" Thursday.
Hopkins, through his attorney, denied any wrongdoing, implying in his statement that any sexual contact he may have had with any of the women was consensual and only when they were legally adults.
Many of the women said they felt empowered by the "Me Too" movement to come forward with their stories.
"Though he denies the allegations, he believes stepping aside is in the best interest of the organization," the board of directors for Youth Education in the Arts said in a statement. "We agree. His resignation is effective immediately.""