The Cleveland Orchestra announced Saturday that it has suspended its principal trombonist as part of an ongoing investigation into sexual harassment that was prompted by a July 26 Washington Post report .


The Cleveland Orchestra’s principal trombonist Massimo La Rosa has been suspended as part of an investigation into sexual harassment. (The Cleveland Orchestra/Photo by Roger Mastroianni)

Massimo La Rosa, 43, who joined the orchestra in 2007, is the second musician the orchestra has suspended. William Preucil, the concertmaster, was placed on paid suspension in July, immediately after the story in The Post alleged that he had attacked and made passes at students.

A statement from the orchestra announcing the suspension did not specify the nature of the claims against La Rosa. According to a 2013 article in Inside Higher Ed, a report was filed against La Rosa with police at the University of Iowa in 2011, but the complainant decided not to pursue criminal charges. In December, according to the Cleveland Plain Dealer, La Rosa filed a lawsuit accusing two people of defamation for alleging that he “had committed and was criminally culpable for multiple sexual assaults on numerous college campuses [where La Rosa] had been invited to serve as a guest instructor.” The orchestra did not specify whether the current suspension was related to the same or similar allegations.

Since August, the law firm of Debevoise & Plimpton has been undertaking “a full independent investigation of sexual misconduct and related issues within the orchestra,” the orchestra’s statement said.

Immediately after the publication of the Post article, the Cleveland Orchestra’s board set up a committee to oversee the investigative process. “We are committed to conducting a thorough and extensive review to make sure The Cleveland Orchestra is able to provide a safe, professional work environment,” David J. Hooker, one of the committee members, said in the statement. 

Preucil remains on suspension. For the orchestra’s season-opening concerts on Thursday and next Saturday, Peter Otto, the first assistant concertmaster, will take the concertmaster’s chair.

La Rosa could not be reached for comment.