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Double-bass professor resigns after pleading guilty to three sex charges

November 11, 2014 by norman lebrecht

17 comments.


Duncan McTier, an internationally known double-bass player and teacher, pleaded guilty today to two counts of indecent assault and one of attempted indecent assault against young women.

The women were students of the Royal Northern College of Music (RNCM) in Manchester and Purcell school in Hertfordshire. the offences took place in the 1980s and 1990s. More here.

McTier, 59, resigned today from his post at the Royal Academy of Music, from which he has been suspended since May.

UPDATE: He was given a three-month jail sentence suspended for two years and ordered to do 240 hours of unpaid work.

The case arises from a police investigation triggered by the conviction of Mike Brewer of offences at Chetham’s School of Music and the RNCM.

Further cases are pending.

DuncanMcTier_0487 with copyright


Comments (17)

  1. George says:

    I am against the power abuse of teachers and approve all measures to prevent it. I don’t particularly like Mr McTier as a person, nor want to defend him but I am asking very candidly if “groping” a 23 years old girl and “attempting to grope” a 17 y.o. girl is considered a sexual assault in the UK, what will come next ?

    This country seems to have a problem with sex between men and women… ( gay sex seems much simpler there, I speak from experience ). And the Guardian article doesn’t say what punishment sentence Mr McTier got. Is it prison ? a fine ?

    1. cindy says:

      Is it such a radical notion that touching someone in a sexual way without their consent should be labeled sexual assault? Maybe what’s “next” is people learning to respect each other as human beings. I mean, one can hope.

    2. Herrera says:

      George, are you serious!? It’s not the age, it’s the consent.

      Georgie Porgie, puddin’ and pie…

  2. Jennifer says:

    Don’t they have a statute of limitations? This was 20 to 30 years ago — how is he supposed to defend himself? I’m not a fan of this guy either, but often accused people will take a plea bargain to something they didn’t do to avoid the possibility of prison.

    1. Lendall says:

      Operation Yewtree in the U.K. has resulted in the prosecution and conviction of quite a number of entertainment personalities, often for offenses and alleged offenses which occurred many years ago. In general I support Operation Yewtree and I strongly support investigations into abuse by clergy, regardless of when such abuse took place. It is only the publicity around such investigations that makes the victims feel free to come forward without shame or guilt. That having been said, I do take your point about the statute of limitations issue. The entire notion of statue of limitations is bizarre, since it implies that after a certain amount of time one is automatically exonerated. For example, the the U.S. the statute of limitations for legal malpractice is one year, so if you do not take action within one year the misbehaving attorney is off the hook for good. But of course who writes the laws, particularly in the U.S. but also elsewhere?

  3. S Road says:

    I think that is a very dangerous statement to make, and also trivialises what these young women went through. It’s very disrespectful. I would say groping of any kind is completely inappropriate when you are in a position of trust and clearly crosses the boundaries of professionalism. If it’s not sexual assault, what is it?

    1. Malcolm James says:

      No-one is trying to trivialise sexual assault. The question is how can you prove beyond all reasonable doubt that a decades-old allegation is true or not. I know McTier pleaded guilty and this may well have been bwecause he knew he was guilty, but the possibility that it was a plea bargain cannot be ruled out. The case is essentially he said/she said and, if I were on a jury, i would find it very difficult to convict, not because I have any sympathy for those engaging in sexual assault, but simply because how can you be sure that the accusations are true beyond all reasonable doubt?

  4. Louise says:

    Is it too much for them to expect to have a double bass lesson without being felt up? You don’t know what the groping entailed, how long it went on for, or what else was going on. Seems like the concept of a student feeling safe with her teacher is something George can’t quite get his head around.

  5. Pedantic says:

    I don’t disagree with Louise or with S Road’s last two sentences, but I think both contributions miss the point that Jennifer makes. The guy might be innocent, but how’s he going to demonstrate that now?

    1. Donald says:

      Assuming that the charges are indeed based on what is accurate ( which on the surface seems quite likely), then the guy is definitely not fit to teach. A female or male student must be able to expect to have lessons without unwanted abuses of her or his physical (or mental) self. The wider picture needs to be taken into account however. Otherwise miscarriages of justice occur. As someone who teaches in the Tertiary sector and who is in a serious, commited, long-term relationship with someone who was a FORMER student and which began AFTER said person finished studying, I know that it can happen that people do fall in love for real, however unlikely or inconvenient the scenario is. This is not the same as a teacher in a position of power and authority misusing that position to get away with enacting sexual assaults. The fact is also that malicious and false gossip gets into the mix which can fuel false allegations against someone who is actually honourable and innocent. These two extremes do get mixed up and it is too easy to jump to under-informed conclusions. False allegations of sexual harrasment and abuse do also occur – the innocent have the right to be protected and to get a fair hearing. Accusations need to be assessed as accurately as possible so that their lives of the blameless don’t get ruined by knee-jerk reactions and band-wagon jumpers. And yes, sometimes (VERY RARELY) an adult student may act on genuine feelings for a lecturer. If the integrity of the educational context is not abused then anyone in such a position has the right to excercise their relationship choices without persecution. There is a reason why a decent civil society outlaws lynch-mobs and ‘witch-hunts’. Trolling and bullying is not justice.

  6. Louise says:

    They know from supporting statements corroborating information given, medical records, counselling records, people coming to testify on victim’s behalf who witnessed incidents, the fact that the three women that came forward, and many other women who couldn’t come forward, tell of McTier’s modus operandi being remarkably similar.. the CPS wouldn’t have brought the case if they had any doubt it was not true and McTier’s lawyers wouldn’t have advised him to plead guilty if the evidence wasn’t watertight and they could have argued some doubt into the minds of the jury He waited until the day before the trial was due to commence before pleading guilty. He was expecting the victims to withdraw from the case because of the stress involved. If he was innocent, his lawyers would have brought the victims to the stand and shown them to be lying. They chose not do do that.

  7. Ian pace says:

    George, maybe you think it is much simpler in the gay world, but I think people of both sexes have a right to say no, have a right not to be sexually exploited by teachers, and for that matter, a right to use lavatories without unwanted sexual touching. There are countless people at all levels who have used the rhetoric of gay rights to justify non-consensual practices and for that matter the exploitation of children. Have a read about this dreadful man Peter Righton, for example. http://ianpace.wordpress.com/2014/08/21/peter-righton-his-activities-up-until-the-early-1980s/

    The time when rhetoric about gay oppression (or, sometimes, lesbian oppression) could be used to justify paedophilia and sexual assault should also come to an end.

  8. Ian Pace says:

    It will be interesting to trace the future career of McTier (and of Michael Brewer) and see how it compares with that of Robert King, who was found guilty in 2007 of worse sexual crimes than either – 14 out of 15 counts of sexual assault between 1983 and 1994 against five boys, three of whom were under 16 and one of whom was alleged to have been abused over three years from the age of 12. King received a 45 month jail sentence of which he served around half, but was able to resume his career easily afterwards. His first concerts upon release were viewed as a triumph – see, for example, Geoff Brown, ‘King’s Consort/King at Wigmore Hall: Robert King’s triumphant return from prison with the King’s Consort is a youthful performance that speaks to audiences’, The Times, 20/12/12. Commentators such as Igor Toronyi-Lalic and the poet James Fenton seemed unhappy that the charges had been brought at all, as if King’s musical status somehow mitigated against them.

  9. Lauren says:

    Here’s the thing, in the west anyway, sexualising young people, misogynist attitudes, and the wink and nod rape-apologist culture pervasive in the media is OVER!

    We are sick and tired of constant objectification and being pawed at, then told to “lighten up” if we object. And this goes for all of the other thug-lad caveman behaviour that has been tolerated by millions of girls, boys and women in the past.

    Keep your hands to yourself, your zipper zipped (unless explicitly invited to do otherwise), and a civil tongue in your head and you will not end up in prison, have your TV programme cancelled (Dapper Laughs), or picking up trash on the side of the road.

    This is the new reality and not a moment too soon.

  10. Worried Observer says:

    Interesting that one of mcTeir’s unfortunate victims was a pupil at The Purcell music School. (here we go again!)
    Although this appears to be historical abuse at this music school, let it not be forgotten that only two months ago this same school has learnt very few lessons themselves regarding child abuse,
    when they ‘quietly’ dismissed their school accompanist, Daniel King Smith for sexually abusing (for the second time in 4 years), sixth form girls in February of this year.
    He has now joined the long list of members of staff who have ‘left’ the school following allegations and investigations over Child Abuse including the former Head, Peter Crook (with sixth form boys),- all reported to the authorities, covered up, and quietly dismissed by the shameful Governors and current Headmaster, in the hope that it will all go away and be forgotten……….

    How long is this hapless school, (being Inspected this week), going to be able to keep a lid on the past 4 years catalogue of unacceptable child abuse in their silent walls?

    Oh, hang on a moment, isn’t their Royal Patron, the music loving HRH Prince Charles, and wasn’t his former bodyguard, Sir Roger Jackling, also ex M15, brought in as Chair of the Governors, when the preverbial hit the fan over Crookgate?………

    It wouldn’t be good for the establishment to be seen connected to paedophilia, now would it?

    (Ring any current bells, current Government?)

    Who says whitewash and coverup only happens in the NHS?

  11. Paul says:

    The upright bass used outside of symphony with a bow is a tool os lasciviouness. When you pluck it with jazz blues walking rhythm its deep heavy sound stirrs within our gut the lust of our being to do horrendous sexual abuse. No wonder it was such an easy temptation for McTiernan did such a thing. He plucked the bass to arouse himself before commiting his crimes.

  12. George says:

    Sex is good, man.


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