MI--Community to gather for alleged victim of Adrian professor

MEDIA ADVISORY, for immediate release

Community to gather for alleged victim of Adrian professor

Candlelight vigil to demand action from university and professors’ union

Professor protected over safety of local kids and college students, they say 

University must remove Hodgman, reach out to every student he's previously taught, warn the community at large and apologize to alleged victim, they demand

WHAT: At a Candlelight Vigil, members of the Adrian community and two victims rights groups are coming out in support of a woman—who was one of at least two allegedly sexually abused as a teen by an Adrian College professor—to prevent this from happening again.

They will also:

  • Demand that the college take action by removing music professor Thomas Hodgman from his position of power over students and other faculty,
  • Ask that the Adrian College Association of Professors (ACAP) account for why Hodgman is being protected at the expense of students safety and students’ Title IX  protections, as well as local kids.
  • Encourage Adrian students to come forward and talk about sexual harassment, abuse and assault on campus, and
  • Urge Adrian College administration to implement sweeping reforms, notify alumni, and apologize to one of Hodgman’s alleged victims for their treatment of her, because it discourages other Adrian students from reporting sexual harassment and assault. 

A statement by the alleged victim, Joelle Casteix, will be read at the event.

WHERE/WHEN: TODAY - MONDAY, NOVEMBER 20, 5:45 to 6:15 pm
110 S. Madison Street in Adrian (on the public sidewalk by the ADRIAN COLLEGE sign)

WHO: The Red Light Initiative of Lenawee (https://www.facebook.com/redlightinitiativeLC/), Members of SNAP, The Survivors Network (SNAPNetwork.org), and more than a dozen members of the Lenawee community (as of November 15)

WHY: Last week, Joelle Casteix, an alleged child sex abuse victim of Adrian College music professor Thomas Hodgman, wrote a #metoo essay on her blog, TheWorthyAdversary.com (http://theworthyadversary.com/4789-open-letter-jeffrey-docking-adrian-college), outlining her alleged abuse. The post, which was shared more than 9000 times, elicited a response from the local media, Adrian College, and Hodgman. (http://www.toledoblade.com/State/2017/11/10/Woman-renews-push-to-have-Adrian-choir-director-fired.html). The school says they cannot remove Hodgman because of his union protections.

Casteix has been trying to alert the community about Hodgman since 2003.

Casteix also successfully settled a child sex abuse and cover-up lawsuit against Hodgman, Mater Dei High School, and the Diocese of Orange, where the abuse occurred. The lawsuit revealed a signed confession, where Hodgman admitted to having sex with Casteix and another student. In their statement Adrian College also concedes that Hodgman engaged in “inappropriate conduct" with minors while a high school teacher.

The Red Light Initiative of Lenawee County, a new Michigan organization filing nonprofit paperwork with the State, read Joelle’s letter and the group’s leadership was appalled at the lack of action by the college to protect students. They decided to help Joelle take on the task of getting Hodgman removed from Adrian College in an effort to protect local kids and students from future abuse.

“Adrian College has shown they do not have the welfare of their students and sexual assault victims as a priority," said Brooke Borton, social media director of Red Light Initiative of Lenawee. “Now, we need to show that the community does. We stand with Joelle and others, we stand for the safety of Adrian’s students. We don’t stand for men who admit to molesting kids."

Claudia Vercellotti, the Toledo leader of SNAP, the Survivors Network, the nation’s largest support group for men and women who have been sexually abused in in institutional settings, was with Joelle in her initial meeting at Adrian College in 2005, and has returned several times Since trying to warn students and compel Adrian College President, Jeffrey Docking, among others to warn alumni, and protect local kids and students.  

“I thought Adrian College President initially didn't know. I was stunned to learn they knew and didn't care that one of his professors admitted to sexually molesting kids,” she said. "We know Hodgman has used his position as an educator in California to sexually prey upon kids. Those facts are confirmed by Hodgman's own signed statement at his last high school teaching assignment. Isn't it unreasonable to believe this teacher who allegedly got away with impregnating a high school student and transferring STD's would 'spontaneously' stop sexually exploiting students just because he moved across the country and works at Adrian college," Vercellotti said. 

Vercellotti states, "Why would Adrian College knowingly put so many college students and local kids at risk? They've known for more than a decade and warned no one. How can we protect kids in secrecy?" 

About the Red Light Initiative (of Lenawee)

The Red Light initiative is a grassroots organization founded by Tabatha Smith in October of this year, consisting only of volunteers, and working toward becoming a Non-Profit 501(c)(3) Corporation.  Our purpose is to increase awareness of sexual assault, human trafficking and the sexual exploitation of women and children in South East Michigan.  We believe that with increased awareness comes a decrease in stigma, leading more survivors to come forward.  Helping those survivors to obtain services and assistance necessary for healing is our mission.

About SNAP

SNAP, the Survivors Network, is the world’s oldest and largest support group for victims of sexual abuse in institutional settings. SNAP was founded in 1988 and has more than 25,000 members. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org


Contact:  Claudia Vercellotti, (419) 345-9291[email protected]
Tabatha Smith (517) 936-3663  [email protected]m

SNAP Network is a GuideStar Gold Participant