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Ousted Conductor Zander Apologizes For Hiring Sex Offender

Conductor Benjamin Zander leads the Boston Philharmonic in 2004 at New York's Carnegie Hall. (AP)

Conductor Benjamin Zander leads the Boston Philharmonic in 2004 at New York's Carnegie Hall. (AP)

BOSTON — For the first time, renowned conductor Benjamin Zander is offering an apology for employing a registered sex offender to video record children at the New England Conservatory.

In a statement posted on his website Friday, Zander says he did not realize what crimes the man had committed.

Zander and the videographer were fired last week.

In a follow-up conversation with WBUR, Zander said he knows he should have shared information about the man’s past with others at the conservatory.

“Instead of fighting and arguing and blaming other people, I’ve said I definitely did something which set this in motion,” he said.

- Here’s Zander’s website statement:

On January 11, just over one week ago, I was told I had been dismissed from my position at the New England Conservatory (NEC) where I have worked happily for the past 45 years.

The reason was that I had over many years retained the videographer Peter Benjamin to film classes and concerts, knowing that he was a convicted sex offender who had served a term of imprisonment. I supported him in the sentencing stage of his trial and after his release on the basis of what I saw as his earnest determination to turn his life around, but I did so without inquiring into the exact nature of the charges. This was a grave oversight.

Further, I did not seek the permission of the NEC, based on disclosure of his conviction and imprisonment, to use him as a videographer in the College and the Prep school. I accept that it was not for me to make the decision that it was safe to do so.

For all the upset and anguish my actions have thereby caused in the NEC community and beyond, I profoundly apologize.

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