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Cleveland Institute of Music Suspends Trombonist Pending Misconduct Inquiry

On Monday, the Cleveland Institute of Music suspended the head of its trombone department, Massimo La Rosa, pending the outcome of an investigation into claims of sexual misconduct. [Mark Satola]
Trombonist Massimo La Rosa against an orange background.

The Cleveland Institute of Music (CIM) has suspended Massimo La Rosa, head of the school's trombone department, pending the outcome of an investigation into allegations of sexual misconduct involving La Rosa.

The move comes one month after The Cleveland Orchestra  suspended La Rosa from his role as principal trombonist as part of its own investigation, which not only focuses on La Rosa, but the Orchestra's concertmaster William Preucil.

President of CIM, Paul W. Hogle, announced the suspension Monday in an email addressed to students, faculty, staff, alumni, and Trustees.

"As you may know from news reports," the statement began, "CIM's head of trombone Massimo La Rosa was suspended in September from his position at The Cleveland Orchestra pending an investigation into claims of sexual misconduct."

"This morning, as part of our own internal investigation, we suspended Mr. La Rosa from his CIM teaching duties until our investigation is concluded," Hogle said. "If you have information that may be helpful to this process, please contact one of the Title IX committee members." (In a separate statement, the school says the investigation is being conducted in accordance with Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, a federal law that bars sex discrimination at schools that receive federal funds.)

Hogle went on to list contact information for four CIM faculty who are members of the school's Title IX committee and invited those who wish to report concerns or seek counseling to visit a Title IX information page on the school's website. The statement from Hogle did not say what specific allegations prompted the school’s investigation. 

In 2013, Inside Higher Ed published a story in which a former trombone student of La Rosa’s alleged that he groped her during a private lesson that he initiated while she was at the University of Iowa in 2011.

La Rosa was also the plaintiff in a defamation lawsuit. According to a January 2018 complaint filed in federal court in Cleveland, La Rosa accused trombonists Jonathan Allen and Abbie Conant of spreading false statements about him, including allegations of sexual assault. In the complaint, La Rosa, sought upwards of $100,000 in damages against Allen and Conant. The case was dismissed in May after the parties reached a settlement through mediation, according to court records.


This article has been updated to include the reason that La Rosa’s defamation suit was dismissed. According to the federal court docket, the parties requested dismissal after reaching a settlement through mediation.