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Replacement for disgraced Cadets leader George Hopkins forced to step down himself

Sean King, the man chosen to lead Youth Education in the Arts after its CEO George Hopkins resigned amid a sexual harassment scandal has now been suspended, after a woman said she told him Hopkins was harassing her and he did nothing.

Members of the Cadets, an elite drum corps based in Allentown, Pa. practice in 2014. (KYLE MONROE / For The Inquirer)
Members of the Cadets, an elite drum corps based in Allentown, Pa. practice in 2014. (KYLE MONROE / For The Inquirer)Read morestaff

A sexual-misconduct scandal that led to the ouster of a famed Allentown drum corps director and the corps' entire board of directors on Thursday ensnared the man chosen to shepherd the nonprofit through the crisis.

Sean King replaced George Hopkins last week as interim CEO of Youth Education in the Arts, following Hopkins' resignation amid allegations he sexually harassed or assaulted nine women. On Thursday, King was placed on suspension, pending the outcome of an investigation into claims by another woman who said she had told him Hopkins was harassing her and he did nothing.

King, in an email announcing his suspension, again denied the woman ever confided in him about Hopkins' alleged behavior.

"I can assure everyone that had claims of sexual abuse come to my attention while at YEA!, I would've immediately shared them with the proper authorities internally at YEA! or with the police," he said.

 >>Sexual abuse in drum and bugle corps: Do you have a story?

Jessica Beyer of Drexel Hill, one of 11 women to now publicly accuse the former director of the Cadets drum and bugle corps of sexual harassment or assault, marched with the corps in 2006 and worked for the organization from 2007 to 2009. She said she confided in King, her superior at the time, about some of Hopkins' treatment, including that he was sending her suggestive text messages late at night that were making her uncomfortable.

"I was told that's just how he was," Beyer, who then went by her maiden name, Jessica Wilson, said. " 'You know how George is.' "

Beyer also said Hopkins once raped her in his apartment, something she said she did not share with King.

Hopkins, director of the Cadets drum corps for nearly 40 years until his resignation, did not respond to requests to comment on the woman's allegations.

The 10-member board of directors for Youth Education in the Arts resigned en masse Wednesday amid accusations that it did not do enough to investigate the women's claims and had been insensitive in its responses. A new board was named and its members made the decision to suspend King.

In a statement, Doug Rutherford, the new chairman, said he took Beyer's claims seriously and would investigate "in a procedural fair manner."

"Central to this requirement is that Sean receives all relevant information with regard to the allegations, and is given a fair opportunity to defend himself and rebut the allegations and evidence before the new board," Rutherford said.

Dan Acheson, executive director of Drum Corps International, the activity's sanctioning body, had been working closely with King to aid in the transition after Hopkins' resignation. On Thursday, he said he stood by the board's decision to suspend King.

"They're trying to make sure that there's a zero tolerance there," he said. "And if there's even a mention that there might be something from the past like that, they're going to try to go after it so they can do a clean sweep of their organization, once and for all."