A US music professor is allowed to resign

A US music professor is allowed to resign


norman lebrecht

February 05, 2018

For the past 17 years, Thomas Hodgman has been professor of music and director of choirs at Adrian College, Michigan, a liberal arts college affiliated to the Methodist Church.

The college has long been aware that, in 2005, the Catholic Diocese of Orange County, California paid $1.6 million to a woman who filed a civil lawsuit claiming that Hodgman sexually assaulted her and gave her an STD in the 1980s.

The victim wrote an open letter to Adrian College in November, demanding his dismissal, over the historic abuse of two teenaged students. Last week, Hodgman resigned ‘for personal reasons’, without comment from the college.

Here are his student ratings.


  • YoYo Mama says:

    Disgusting conduct on her part. She got her settlement and should have left him alone. I hope he sues her.

    • Robert Holmén says:

      He will have nothing to sue her for.

      The settlement seems to have included no non-disclosure obligation on her part but did include “a 1989 letter signed by him and Mater Dei’s principal that stated Hodgman ‘not only admitted to dating’ an underage Casteix and another student, ‘but having sexual intercourse with them.'”

      How old? 15

    • Winger says:

      “Disgusting conduct on her part”

      oh. okay.

    • Alex Davies says:

      She received a financial settlement from the Diocese of Orange. That doesn’t mean that there should be no consequences for Dr Hodgman personally. He’s very lucky not to have faced criminal charges.

    • Bylle Binder says:

      Please? The guy had sex with her and gave her a STD and you think she’s to blame when she doesn’t demand only some money, but that the man becomes to feel some consequences of what he’s done? She should just have accepted him teaching young women?
      What you did here was victim blaming at its best!

    • Claudia Vercellotti says:

      I hope he sues her too.

      Why? It will undoubtedly bring forward the extent of the cover-up and collusion. Perhaps it will flush out other victims who feel empowered to break their silence.

      Most of all, if Hodgman sues, he won’t be able to hide any longer. He will create a permanent public record and kids, parents and employers will have a better chance of being on notice.

      So, yes, please do sue.

      Let’s get this case into a courtroom and hold the wrong doer accountable, and most of all protect kids from ever suffering at his hands again.

  • William Osborne says:

    It’s important to understand the affects of sexual assault, which can be similar to combat PTSD. A massive surge of stress chemicals can be released that in effect brand the pre-frontal cortex. The brain is imprinted with memories it can never again release. Intense psychological trauma creates brain damage that is difficult to heal. This damage can then affect sexuality, one of the most intimate and meaningful parts of human identity. This is why victims often find forgiveness very difficult. They should not be blamed for this. PTSD is a crippling disease. Issues like this make it very difficult to find a balance between the interests of victims and the rehabilitation of perpetrators.

    • SVM says:

      The tone of William Osborne’s comment implies (unintentionally, I hope) that to “find forgiveness” were somehow a goal or necessity. I do not think it appropriate to foist any such expectation on a victim, and I am most perturbed at the way “restorative justice” is becoming so fashionable as to make victims feel an obligation to participate. As for finding “a balance between the interests of victims and the rehabilitation of perpetrators”, that is a matter for the judiciary, not the victim (who, thus free of the burden of having to find such “balance”, is at perfect liberty to lobby for the perpetrator to be sacked/incarcerated/&c., or, more generally, to lobby for the law and/or sentencing guidelines to be changed).

    • Robert Holmén says:

      Short version of Osborne: Don’t blame the victim, pity her “disease” instead.

      No, reading the full article, I get the sense that Miss Casteix is a clear-headed, functioning adult, not one laboring under a perception-distorting brain cloud.

      She is pursuing what appears to be a reasonable point that we wouldn’t question from any un-involved third party… that someone who couldn’t resist the urge to maneuver minors into sex may not be an ideal choice to be supervising young people.

      • Sharon says:

        Perhaps the victim is trying to find some healing by preventing what happened to her to happen to others. That’s a pretty legitimate thing to do and will provide a sense of legitimate empowerment for the victim.
        At least one of the victims in the Levine case said he was coming forward at this time because he believed that the time was right so by coming forward he could prevent what happened to him to happen to others. This is a constructive and healing way to deal with grief and anger.

    • William Osborne says:

      The above comments are reading FAR too much into my post. The tone of Norman’s blog and some of the comments speak of a “historic” case that seems to imply that it should be forgotten or now overlooked. My post is about why that is impossible, and with an explanation even on a physiological level. Sexual assault does create medical conditions in the victims that should be carefully considered. As for this particular case, it would be absurd to excuse someone for sexually abusing two 15 year-olds. It hardly gets worse than that.