click to enlarge Letters to the editor 7/4/24
PHOTO COURTESY ATHENS POLICE DEPARTMENT PHOTO FROM FACEBOOK
Adam L. Power, left, is facing at least 15 years in federal prison after pleading guilty to 34 counts of producing, receiving and possessing child pornography. Bill Bauser Jr. right, was the person who asked Power to be vocal director of a production when Bauser was the Springfield Theatre Centre board’s volunteer executive director and treasurer. Complaints from parents prompted the STC board to remove Power from the show, and the Hoogland Center for the Arts banned him from the building. The STC board later asked for, and received, Bauser’s resignation from the board in December 2019. However, Bauser was then appointed to the board of Springfield Municipal Opera in December 2022. He resigned in April 2023, after youth and parents involved in area community theater groups complained on public websites that Bauser hadn’t done enough to protect children from Power. The same month, Bauser was fired from his job with the Rochester school district for allegedly making “sexually suggestive” comments to high school students and engaging in bullying, intimidation and harassment.

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MAKE REPORT PUBLIC

The Muni board of trustees was, deservedly, excoriated by members of the theater community last year when they chose to nominate and install Bill Bauser to their board of directors. Bauser, as noted in Dean Olsen's article "Protecting children" (April 6, 2024), was central in bringing Adam Power back into Springfield Theatre Centre after multiple complaints had been filed. Bauser was also fired from his position in the Rochester school district for his own inappropriate conduct ("Former Muni board member fired from job in Rochester district," April 27, 2023). The trustees were well aware Bauser was the subject of complaints over the years and chose to nominate and install him anyway.

Subsequently, the trustees hired John C. Milhiser to investigate internal processes at The Muni. In Olsen's article "Petersburg man pleads guilty to child porn charges" (May 8, 2024), Dennis O'Brien, chair of The Muni's Board of Trustees, said the investigation was completed but would not disclose the results of the investigation.

The Muni trustees fail to recognize why this is problematic. Keeping the results of the investigation from the community only furthers concerns about this organization. Had Milhiser's investigation come back squeaky clean, O'Brien and the rest of the trustees likely would have announced that to anyone who would listen.

The fact they have not shared the results of the investigation with Illinois Times or members of the local theater community creates justified suspicion. It suggests either Milhiser's investigation was merely for show, or something exists within the investigation the trustees would rather not have in the public.

Independent investigations should be independent. That includes being independent of The Muni trustees deciding if the community should see it.

Why should the community be allowed to see the results of the investigation? Because The Muni is a community theater organization made possible by unpaid volunteers in the community. They are a 501(c)3 nonprofit and accountable to its stakeholders.

Unmatched local talent will be on The Muni stage this summer, with countless people behind the scenes making it come together. Each person is doing it for a love of the arts. They are owed a safe place. They deserve transparency from the trustees and the board of directors charged with maintaining the health of the organization. Anything less is unacceptable.

Johnny Molson
Springfield

Editor's note: Illinois Times has requested a copy of the report more than once. The first request was denied, and there has been no response so far to the most recent request on June 19.

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COMBINE POLICE FORCES

How about a points system for violations ("City compromises on liquor licenses," June 20)? As far as if there is a call for service at a bar, then safety and security for west side wards is in jeopardy, that can be stated for every ward and municipality because of the number of police that show up at the various calls for service.

Are we deploying your resources correctly? Are we using technology? Is technology proving its cost? For example, there are more and more studies stating ShotSpotter is not as effective or accurate as we were led to believe. Many cities are not renewing contracts.

If we are doing this to be consistent with the county, let's study the creation of a metropolitan police force. Less bureaucracy, less management and more cops on the streets.

Aaron McEvoy
Via Facebook.com/illinoistimes

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CONTRIBUTING TO THE CRISIS

I appreciated David Blanchette's interview with Sen. Dick Durbin and the senator's candor during it. ("Durbin views the national scene," June 20). But I am very confused about his and many other Illinois politicians' attitudes towards Gaza. He said, "It's a humanitarian crisis unlike any in my lifetime," yet he voted to re-arm Israel with weapons. What do you think they are doing with those weapons, Senator? Contributing to the humanitarian crisis. Have you not seen the images coming out of Rafah? If you call that self-defense, I'll call you a liar.

Mike Gascoigne
Springfield

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