‘A grave abuse’: Holy Cross investigation finds former organ instructor responsible for sexual misconduct

James David Christie resigned from the college after allegations surfaced last year.

James David Christie in 2000.
James David Christie in 2000. –Hiroyuki Ito/Getty Images

An internationally renowned organist and former instructor at Worcester’s College of the Holy Cross has been found responsible for multiple instances of sexual harassment and misconduct, the school announced Tuesday.

James David Christie resigned from his position as artist-in-residence and instructor at Holy Cross last year after he was accused of misconduct. The school began an investigation despite his departure.

Holy Cross president Rev. Philip L. Boroughs wrote in a Tuesday statement that the school found Christie’s actions “represent a serious violation of our standards for conduct and a grave abuse of Mr. Christie’s position at the College.”

Advertisement

Christie also played with the Boston Symphony Orchestra for decades, played at Wellesley College, and taught at Oberlin College and Conservatory in Ohio.

Oberlin conducted a similar investigation into Christie last year after receiving a report that he engaged in inappropriate behavior with its students. After Christie also resigned from that college, its investigation concluded that “Mr. Christie in all likelihood grossly abused his position of trust” and violated multiple college policies.

A statement from the Boston Symphony Orchestra called Holy Cross’s recent findings “deeply disturbing” and said the organization ended its relationship with Christie after allegations surfaced last year.

The Boston Globe reported that former Holy Cross students wrote Boroughs a letter in August 2018 saying Christie was “an imminent danger to students on your campus.” Both the Holy Cross and Oberlin investigations into the organist began shortly thereafter.

Multiple Holy Cross alums told The Boston Globe stories of unwanted touching and inappropriate comments from Christie. At least two told the paper their relationships with Christie involved heavy drinking and unprotected sex.

The timeline of allegations ranges from 1994 to 2017.

Boroughs thanked those who came forward with allegations against Christie and announced steps Holy Cross will take to prevent future misconduct, including new training on sexual misconduct and professional boundaries for college employees.

Advertisement

The president’s statement said any organization seeking employment verification or references for Christie will be informed of the investigation’s findings. Christie is also barred from Holy Cross properties and events.