Home U.S NY Trinity Church FIRES its acclaimed music director after woman alleges assault

NY Trinity Church FIRES its acclaimed music director after woman alleges assault

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New York City’s powerful Trinity Wall Street Church has fired its acclaimed music director who is married to a female priest after another woman accused him of sexual misconduct. 

Julian Wachner, 53 – who is married to a female reverend, Emily Wachner, with whom he has children – was fired from Trinity on Monday after he had been placed on leave Saturday in wake of assault accusations made by former Juilliard School employee Mary Poole. 

Poole, 32, accused Wachner of pushing her against a wall at South Carolina musical festival in 2014, groping her and kissing her despite her demanding that he stop. 

An investigation was launched into the allegations and remains ongoing. However, the church’s rector, Rev. Phillip A. Jackson, announced Monday that Trinity had terminated Wachner’s employment.

‘The investigation is ongoing, and thus the investigator has not yet made any determination about the veracity of the 2014 allegations,’ the church said in a statement published online.

‘Still, we have concluded based on recent information that Julian has otherwise conducted himself in a manner that is inconsistent with our expectations of anyone who occupies a leadership position. For this reason, Trinity has decided to end Julian’s employment with Trinity as of today.’ 

Emily Wachner referred DailyMail.com to her attorneys when contacted for a comment about her husband’s alleged behavior and finished her email with ‘God Bless’.

Famed conductor and composer Julian Wachner (pictured in Dec. 2010) was fired from his role as music director at Trinity Wall Street Church in New York City on Monday after a woman accused him of sexual misconduct that allegedly occurred in 2014

Famed conductor and composer Julian Wachner (pictured in Dec. 2010) was fired from his role as music director at Trinity Wall Street Church in New York City on Monday after a woman accused him of sexual misconduct that allegedly occurred in 2014

Former Julliard employee Mary Poole claims Wachner pushed her against a wall at South Carolina musical festival in 2014, groped her and kissed her despite her demanding he stop

Former Julliard employee Mary Poole claims Wachner pushed her against a wall at South Carolina musical festival in 2014, groped her and kissed her despite her demanding he stop

Wachner has denied Poole’s allegations and, according to his lawyer, is ‘exceptionally disappointed’ in Trinity’s decision to fire him despite the investigation being ongoing. 

‘We are exceptionally disappointed that Trinity has acted prior to completing a thorough investigation,’ attorney Andrew Miltenberg told the New York Times in a statement Monday. ‘Depriving Mr. Wachner of the benefit of the full narrative is the antithesis of due process and allows distortions to triumph over the truth.’

He added: ‘Mr. Wachner continues to dispute the nearly decade-old, misleading and untrue allegations made against him.’ 

Poole, however, has applauded the decision and argued that it remains important the church conducts a thorough investigation into Wachner’s alleged conduct.

‘I hope this is the beginning of a bigger conversation about how we handle harassment in classical music, and how conductors are often held on a pedestal,’ she told the newspaper. ‘Everybody needs to be held accountable for the same kind of appropriate behavior in the workplace.’ 

The famed church announced Wachner's terminiation

The famed church announced Wachner’s termination Monday, noting an investigation was launched into the allegations and remains ongoing

'Still, we have concluded based on recent information that Julian has otherwise conducted himself in a manner that is inconsistent with our expectations of anyone who occupies a leadership position. For this reason, Trinity has decided to end Julian's employment with Trinity as of today,' the church said Monday. Wachner is pictured conducting in Dec. 2013

‘Still, we have concluded based on recent information that Julian has otherwise conducted himself in a manner that is inconsistent with our expectations of anyone who occupies a leadership position. For this reason, Trinity has decided to end Julian’s employment with Trinity as of today,’ the church said Monday. Wachner is pictured conducting in Dec. 2013

Poole’s allegations stem from an incident at the Juilliard in Aiken festival that she helped organize in 2014. The festival featured Wachner and the acclaimed Trinity choir.

She claims that one evening, Wachner approached her at a house where the Julliard staff members were staying and requested she get him a beverage.

As she was preparing the drink, Wachner allegedly started groping and kissing her for nearly two minutes. Poole told the Times she repeatedly asked him to stop.

Poole, who was 24 at the time of the alleged incident, said she did not report the assault to police because she was in another state and had limited time due to being in the middle of a tour.

‘I felt like I could not defend myself,’ Poole recalled, adding that she was worried she would face professional consequences for speaking up.

She did report the incident to Julliard and the school reportedly vowed never to hire Wachner again.

The famed music conservatory issued a statement to the newspaper Saturday, reading: ‘Sexual misconduct or discrimination are not tolerated at Juilliard, and we take all allegations very seriously.

‘At the time we offered our full support to Ms. Poole and informed Mr. Wachner that he would not be invited back to Juilliard in the future. Since that time we have had no relationship with Mr. Wachner.’

Poole has posted alleged correspondence with Wachner on her social media platforms and branded him as'guilty' despite the investigation still being ongoing. In an email she allegedly sent to Wachner in March 2014, that she posted on Facebook Sunday, Pooled slammed the music director for his alleged misconduct and told him to'never repeat the type of behavior'

Poole has posted alleged correspondence with Wachner on her social media platforms and branded him as ‘guilty’ despite the investigation still being ongoing. In an email she allegedly sent to Wachner in March 2014, that she posted on Facebook Sunday, Pooled slammed the music director for his alleged misconduct and told him to ‘never repeat the type of behavior’

Meantime, Poole has posted alleged correspondence with Wachner on her social media platforms and branded him as ‘guilty’ despite the investigation still being ongoing.

In an email she allegedly sent to Wachner in March 2014, that she posted on Facebook Sunday, Pooled slammed the music director for his alleged misconduct and told him to ‘never repeat the type of behavior’.

‘Your behavior last night was extremely inappropriate and would be considered harassment by any legal definition. Not only have you jeopardized our working relationship, you put me in a horrible position. Harassment is not only disgusting, but it is also a violation of the law,’ Poole penned. 

‘You are a married man and I have no interest in a romantic relationship with you. You must stop immediately and never repeat the type of behavior you demonstrated last night.’

She also shared a screenshot of what appears to be a direct message from Wachner apologizing for his behavior. 

She also shared a screenshot of what appears to be a direct message from Wachner apologizing for his behavior

She also shared a screenshot of what appears to be a direct message from Wachner apologizing for his behavior

‘I got your email. Words can not describe how sorry I am. There is no acceptable excuse. Please try to accept my apology,’ the message read. It was also dated March 2014.

Miltenberg has routinely denied Poole’s allegations against his client, saying Saturday: ‘Ms. Poole’s outrageous allegations are categorically false and my client looks forward to the matter being resolved. 

‘Due to the ongoing nature of the investigation we cannot comment further at this time.’

He did add that they respected ‘Trinity’s decision to conduct a thorough investigation’ and on Monday argued ‘Juilliard’s statement, which Mr. Wachner saw for the first time in The New York Times, is flawed and erroneous.’

Miltenberg did not immediately respond to DailyMail.com’s request for comment.

Wachner, a conductor and composer, has overseen Trinity’s choir, orchestra and contemporary-music ensemble since 2011. He was responsible for their presentation at hundreds of events annually. 

In recent months he was named one of three finalists to serve as the artistic director at the Oregon Bach Festival – which has not returned requests for comment. 

Wachner married Rev. Emily Wachner in October 2012. The pair are pictured together in a photo shared online in May 2019

Wachner married Rev. Emily Wachner in October 2012. The pair are pictured together in a photo shared online in May 2019

The couple appears to share two children together

The couple appears to share two children together

He was also credited in 2018 with leading the ‘best “Messiah” in New York.’ Trinity’s ensembles perform the famed piece each year.    

Wachner has also been nominated for Grammy Awards and collaborated with world renown organizations such as Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center and the Los Angeles Opera. 

He is married to Rev. Emily Wachner, 39, who, according to her LinkedIn, most recently served as the Director of Integrative Programs and a Pastoral Theology Lecturer at the General Theological Seminary in New York City. 

She was appointed to her roles at GTS in September 2015 and resigned in July 2020 to ‘spend more time with my young children,’ according to an automatic reply from her GTS email. Emily and Wachner were married in October 2012 and appear to share two children.

Emily was hired to the seminary academy after having worked at Trinity for more than four years. When asked for comment, she referred DailyMail.com to Wachner’s attorney.

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