Countertenor takes leave after rape allegation

Countertenor takes leave after rape allegation


norman lebrecht

August 23, 2018

The University of Michigan has announced that David Daniels has taken leave of absence from his teaching position after a tabloid newspaper named him and his partner, the conductor Scott Walters, for the alleged rape of a student baritone in 2010.

Daniels and Walters, pictured at their wedding, have denied the allegation.


  • I hope that they will handle those (false) accusations

  • MavisP says:

    The alleged penetrators should be called to account before the Courts.

    Sorry, meant to type “perpetrators”.

  • Ryan Romero says:

    If David Daniels did not commit the rape, then why did he feel the need to take a leave of absence from his teaching position at the U. of M.?
    ‘Sounds strange to me……

    • Edgar says:

      Taking leave is the usual and appropriate thing to do to allow a fully independent and thorough investigation of the allegations. What will happen next depends on its outcome. Which means that the accused are presumed innocent until proven guilty.

      If the allegations are ruled credible and substantiated (and thus likely to have merit in a court of law), then the accused will need to subject themselves to judicial procedures. If, on the other hand, the allegations prove to be not substantiated enough to merit a case, the accused will face no legal action.

      The case needs to be in independent, competent hands now, so that nothing else but the truth based on facts and evidence can come to light.

    • Chipper in Ann Arbor says:

      We don’t know whether he wanted to take the leave of absence vs. whether the university wanted him to take one. While the investigation proceeds, the university can’t have someone teaching and mentoring students who has been accused of rape. Having him continue to teach would make the university vulnerable to huge liability if something were to happen.

      Also, whether innocent or guilty, it’s pretty difficult for a person accused of something like this to focus on work.

    • Quel dilemme says:

      “Why did he feel the need to take a leave of absence”??? Do you honestly think that the University gave him a choice? It’s simply their polite way of announcing that he’s been forcibly sidelined.

  • Ryan Romero says:

    Obviously, Daniels has a history of such behavior.
    The article in the NY Daily News had this statement from the University if Michigan:

    “University spokeswoman Kim Broekhuizen refused to say how many other complaints the college had received against the professor.”

    I take this to mean that the University had received other complaints about Daniels.

    • EagleArts says:

      Isn’t that a loaded question? “When did you stop beating your wife?” The University is sidestepping that question not because they have received other complaints but to shield themselves from liability as the investigation begins.

      • CD says:

        I can tell you for a fact that Daniels at least has a history of sexual harassment in the work place. I worked with him at San Francisco Opera and he made inappropriate sexual comments to me while there. I was also younger at the time and didn’t know how to handle the situation, since he was a star performing with the company. After speaking with other colleagues and friends in the business, I quickly learned that he is known for his inappropriate behavior. One story that was often shared, was how he invited young singers back to his apartment for drinks to discuss their careers. Once they arrived, he would inevitably make some sort of sexual advance to see if they were receptive. It saddens me to think that he would do something this extreme, but I must admit, I am not surprised. I hope that, if there are others that have experienced abuse at his hands, they also have the strength to come forward.

      • M2N2K says:

        That is a fundamentally flawed analogy: “how many other complaints have you received” is not at all the same as “when did you stop beating your wife”. Replying “NONE” to the former question – if that is the truth – would not create any “liability” problem for that school. Their refusal to answer indicates that the number is greater than zero.

        • Me! says:

          Their reply is similar to “no comment “ – that can seem like yes but also simply as a policy matter we’re not going there

          • M2N2K says:

            If the question was “how many”, then “yes” would not qualify as an answer in any case. Refusal to answer certainly suggests that the truthful answer would not be “none”.

        • Saxon Broken says:

          Er…no, it does not imply there are several other cases. Usually the university will have a legal requirement not to disclose disciplinary cases and/or investigations since they are obliged to protect confidential information about their employees.

  • Plush says:

    A well known queer with very rude backstage behavior. I once told him, “well, everyone has their shortcomings.”

  • Richard Griffiths says:

    This is like trial by internet. What ever has, or has not happened, they are innocent until such time as they are convicted in a court of law. A lot of people making comments seem to be acting as self appointed judge and jury.

    • Me! says:

      What world are you living in – they are never innocent if they did it, regardless if goes to trial (criminal in US beyond reasonable doubt civil by a preponderance of evidence)- many sexual assault victims (ridiculously but due to our culture and responses) never bring charges, or even tell someone- rapist still not innocent. As to public opinion yes it is informed by trial results and also by news of other previously unknown to wider public info- and no, isn’t trial, witnesses not available for x exam etc – might not be true but first hand accounts inform opinion and in every case anyone could be lying

  • lukaeber says:

    His professional therapist confirmed that he reported the rape to her 10 years ago. It would take quite a maniacal person to make up a story about a rape that didn’t happen, tell your therapist about it contemporaneously, stay quite about it for 10 years, and then go to the press. I’m persuaded.