Artistic director of KC’s Coterie Theater found dead after abuse allegations

The Kansas City, Missouri, Police Department has confirmed that the former longtime Artistic Director of the Coterie Theatre, Jeff Church, died on Saturday. Police found the longtime leader at the children’s theater dead in the early afternoon on Christmas Eve. Church’s death comes just days after allegations of sexual assault and abuse were made public in a story by the Kansas City Pitch. Numerous other unconfirmed allegations and accounts of abuse began circulating on social media Friday when the story was first published. The 63-year-old served at the children’s theater for over three decades while directing and producing numerous other productions across Kansas City. KC police officers were dispatched to Church’s residence on a dead body call at 1:42 pm on Saturday. Upon arrival, officers contacted the unidentified person who had located the former artistic director’s body. EMS responded and confirmed the Church was dead. Detectives and crime scene personnel responded to the scene to conduct a death investigation. The medical examiner’s office has not yet determined an official cause of death. On Saturday, the theater’s board of directors announced on Instagram that it had accepted the Church’s resignation and was conducting an internal investigation into the allegations. Church’s death comes a month after the prominent children’s theater lost its executive director. Joette Pelster died on Nov. 25, 2022 a week after she had announced her retirement. Pelster had served as executive director since 1993.

The Kansas City, Missouri, Police Department has confirmed that the former longtime Artistic Director of the Coterie Theatre, Jeff Church, died on Saturday.

Police found the longtime leader at the children’s theater dead in the early afternoon on Christmas Eve.

Church’s death comes just days after allegations of sexual assault and abuse were made public in a story by the Kansas City Pitch. Numerous other unconfirmed allegations and accounts of abuse began circulating on social media Friday when the story was first published.

The 63-year-old served at the children’s theater for over three decades while directing and producing numerous other productions across Kansas City.

KC police officers were dispatched to Church’s residence on a dead body call at 1:42 pm on Saturday. Upon arrival, officers contacted the unidentified person who had located the former artistic director’s body.

EMS responded and confirmed the Church was dead.

Detectives and crime scene personnel responded to the scene to conduct a death investigation.

The medical examiner’s office has not yet determined an official cause of death.

This content is imported from Instagram. You may be able to find the same content in another format, or you may be able to find more information at their web site.

On Saturday, the theater’s board of directors announced on Instagram that it had accepted the Church’s resignation and was conducting an internal investigation into the allegations.

This content is imported from Instagram. You may be able to find the same content in another format, or you may be able to find more information at their web site.

Church’s death comes a month after the prominent children’s theater lost its executive director. Joette Pelster died on Nov. 25, 2022 a week after she had announced her retirement.

Pelster had served as executive director since 1993.

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