Kevin Broesler confirms he is voluntarily "suspending" himself from teaching after revealing that The Broesler School "no longer exists."
Kevin Broesler, the owner of The Broesler School of Irish Dance, issued a public letter on December 14 addressing the three sexual abuse lawsuits that were filed in Bergen County, New Jersey on December 4.
Read More: Irish dance teachers allegedly sexually abused minors, claim two New Jersey lawsuits
In his open letter, which appears on the homepage of The Broesler School website, Broesler does not confirm nor deny that he is one of the defendants that are anonymized in the three lawsuits but says that he is voluntarily "suspending" himself from teaching and his son Ryan will take over.
Irish dance teacher and adjudicator Kevin Broesler's open letter:
“To the Irish Dance Community:
“As you are aware, recently a legal proceeding has been commenced, by anonymous plaintiffs, making allegations of wrongful sexual conduct in the Irish Dance community. It is important to note that none of these allegations make any allegations of sexual misconduct toward any students of my school.
“I have taught Irish Dance for over 30 years, to thousands of students. During my entire teaching career, neither I, nor any of my teachers, have ever been accused of such misconduct toward any of these literally thousands of students of our school.
“It is important to stress that the anonymous allegations made are just that — allegations that have not been proven in court. My school will defend the allegations if they are not dropped voluntarily. Most importantly, no person making the accusations at issue was ever a student of my school.
“We live in a social media society in which, at an alarming rate, individuals’ reputations can be destroyed without there ever having been any proven misconduct. This type of “destruction by accusation” mentality is fundamentally unfair, and I trust that you we will all give each other the benefit of not rushing to judgment.
“Because I have always placed the interests and success of my students first, I have voluntarily determined that it is best for my students that I personally suspend my teaching of Irish Dance for the time being. My hope is that this will allow my students to continue dancing, as nothing – including accusations that have nothing to do with them — should be allowed to interfere with their rewarding experience with Irish Dance.
“It is my hope that in time, the unsubstantiated allegations will be dropped, and the concerns that parents have are addressed. I love Irish Dance and culture, and in no way am I quitting that love or that part of my life. Rather, at this particular time, it is my concern for my students that leads me to voluntarily take a “time out” from dance in order to allow everyone to sort things out during this confusing time.
“My son, Ryan, will continue to teach Irish Dance in his new school. Ryan and other teachers from my school who recently started teaching at other schools have nothing to do with any of the allegations, and seeing them continue to teach Irish Dance gives me a sense of satisfaction at this challenging time.
“I wish everyone a happy holidays and health to your families.”
Read More: Male Irish dance teacher alleges sexual assault in re-filed lawsuits
Irish dance sexual abuse lawsuits
On December 4, three sexual abuse lawsuits were re-filed in Bergen County, New Jersey after initial lawsuits filed on December 2 were withdrawn and sealed for undisclosed reasons.
Two Irish dance teachers, one of whom is deceased, and two Irish dance schools are included in the three lawsuits but are anonymized.
CLRG, (An Coimisiún Le Rincí Gaelacha the oldest and largest governing body of competitive Irish dance in the world), IDTANA (the Irish Dance Teachers Association of North America), and the Mid Atlantic Region are also named as defendants in all three lawsuits. The Mid America Region and the Southern Region are additionally named in two of the lawsuits.
The three plaintiffs are anonymized as well: Jack Doe, John Doe, and Pat Doe. John Doe and Pat Doe were minors at the time of their alleged incidents.
Read More: Confronting sexual abuse in Irish dance - this is not about ethics
Closure of The Broesler School of Irish dance
Prior to Broesler’s open letter, an update was shared on the Broesler School website on December 11 which said the twenty-three-year-old dance school “no longer exists."
A new school "is in effect" under the ownership of Broesler's son Ryan:
Read More: CLRG issues second statement about Irish dance sexual abuse lawsuits
CLRG responds to the closure of The Broesler School
On December 12, the day after the Broesler School announced it no longer exists, two statements from CLRG were shared on the Mid-Atlantic Region Feis Information Facebook group:
The first statement read:
STATEMENT REGARDING THE 2020 ALL-IRELAND AND 2020 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS:
The Mid-Atlantic Region Executive Board met with counsel, and spoke via conference call with the Chairman of CLRG, to advocate for, and discuss the best interests of dancers from any school which had been named in the lawsuit filed in the State of New Jersey. It was determined that dancers from the schools named in the suit, who are entered in the 2020 All Ireland Championships, and/or qualified for the 2020 World Championships, may email Jodie@clrg.ie to put forth your circumstances. Please include dancers name, date of birth, gender and include circumstantial details. Questions can be directed to Jodie Thomas at the email address above.
The second statement read:
STATEMENT FROM CLRG: Notice Regarding School Closure
The Broesler school is officially closed, according to a notice posted on the school’s website, http://broesler.com/
Dancers who qualified for Oireachtas Rince na Cruinne 2020 under the Broesler school are allowed to retain their qualification and their entries for the championships will be facilitated.
CLRG will be facilitating entries for dancers previously entered under the Broesler school for Oireachtas Rince na hÉireann 2020.
* A list of dancers who qualified for the worlds under the Broesler school should be compiled by the Regional Directors and forwarded to firstname.lastname@example.org prior to December 16th.
* PLEASE INCLUDE THE FOLLOWING DATA:
* DATE OF BIRTH
* EVENT(S) WHERE AT WHICH THEY QUALIFIED INCLUDING LOCATION AND DATE
All logistics will be reviewed at the January meeting. All dancers and teachers will receive full information as to all options, guidance and support that is available to them.
For verification of CLRG rules, please visit www.clrg.ie/rules
Read More: Irish dance organizations CLRG, IDTANA respond to sexual abuse lawsuits
As of Saturday evening, no reference to Broesler’s open letter was shared on the school’s Facebook page, but it does appear that the name of the Facebook page has been changed over to "ORiain School."
A biography of the Broesler School that is still on its Facebook page reads: “The Kevin Broesler School of Irish Dance has been an active member of the East Coast Irish community since 1986. The school was opened in New York by its founder and director, Kevin Broesler. Mr. Broesler, a former national and world champion stepdancer and a featured performer at various concerts and cultural festivals, is a fully accredited teacher and adjudicator of Irish dancing, qualified by the An Coimisiún le Rincí Gaelacha in Ireland. In 2004, Kevin Broesler was honored by Irish American magazine as one of its top 100 Irish Americans. In 2005, the Broesler School was named the top Irish Dancing School in the U.S. by Irish Dancing & Culture magazine.
“Currently classes are offered in Fishkill and Brewster, New York; Haddonfield (Philly area) and Westwood, New Jersey; Yorklyn, Delaware and Baltimore, Maryland.”
Read More: "Believe them" - Irish dancer urges community to support alleged sexual abuse victims