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Petition to stop San Diego CYT's upcoming shows following last year's sex abuse claims

Posted at 4:09 PM, Aug 19, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-19 19:44:29-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - A petition is now circulating to stop San Diego's Christian Youth Theater (CYT) from its fall programming, after claims surfaced in 2020 that several former students experienced sexual misconduct or abuse by former teachers.

“We know [CYT is] not ready to open yet and we think it's too soon and it's disrespectful to the survivors of the abuse,” said San Diego’s Loxie Gant who runs the Coalition for Institutional Child Abuse Prevention. She is advocating for the alleged victims.

“Posting those auditions was very, very traumatizing and triggering to a lot of the victims,” she added.

The El Cajon-based program was founded 40 years ago and is for students ranging from 4 year-old to 18 year-old. There are CYT branches nationwide.

Last summer, San Diego CYT said that it would remain dark until further notice while it investigated the abuse claims.

When asked at the time about whether staff ignored complaints from former students, this was CYT’s response. “I can't answer that. I don't have enough knowledge to know what those decisions were made at that time and that's part of our investigation, to find out,” San Diego CYT’s Janie Cox told reporters last summer.

On Thursday, the DA’s Office told ABC 10News that 10 cases are currently under review.

This week, local attorney Jessica Pride confirmed that she's representing 10 former students who allegedly experienced sexual assault or inappropriate behavior from former teachers in the 1990s and early 2000s.

Pride added that they're working to reach an amicable resolution.

This week, ABC 10News emailed San Diego CYT about the new petition and asked for details on what's changed since the allegations came to light last year. Cox wrote back in part, "Out of respect to all involved, we are not in a position to comment at this time. We are working with those who have come forward and are intent on reaching an amicable resolution that allows all to move forward in a positive way.”

ABC 10News was also referred to CYT’s website to see what the group states its worked on this past year. The online safety hub affirms CYT’s commitment to a safe community and details, in part, how staff and associates undergo a national background check with continual monitoring, and they must get certified in child abuse protection training.

CYT has also reportedly partnered with Kids Power, a nonprofit that offers safety education.

Details can be found here: []