Out in the Open

A Complicated Closeness

The recent rash of public figures accused of sexual misconduct, assault and violence has compelled us to consider how we view them and their work. But what most of us share in these cases is the safety and comfort of distance. This week, Piya speaks with people who know and care about those accused of doing terrible things to find out how being one rung removed complicates their relationships.
Rebekah Skoor with her father, Michael, backpacking the Sierra Mountains in 1996. (Courtesy of Rebekah Skoor)
Listen to the full episode59:02

The recent rash of public figures accused of sexual misconduct, assault and violence has compelled us to consider how we view them and their work. But what most of us share in these cases is the safety and comfort of distance. This week, Piya speaks with people who know and care about those accused of doing terrible things to find out how being one rung removed complicates their relationships.

Here are the stories from this week's episode...

When someone you care about is accused of sexual misconduct, how should you respond?

Top Irish theatre director Michael Colgan has been accused of sexual harassment, bullying and inappropriate touching, over many years. Emer O'Toole used to work at his theatre. She speaks with Piya about balancing her belief in the accusations with the fact that she has fond memories of a man she adored.

Former Garrison Keillor colleague feels radio host was unfairly 'swept up' in wave of allegations

Katy Sewall used to be a producer for the hit public radio show "A Prairie Home Companion". She considered its host Garrison Keillor a mentor. Recently, Minnesota Public Radio cut ties with Keillor over allegations of inappropriate behaviour. Katy says it's hard to publicly stand by someone accused of such things, but the allegations don't square with the man she knows.

She turned her husband in after finding child porn on his computer

Rachel Carling-Jenkins discovered child pornography on her husband's computer. After the instant shock, she left home, called the police and ended the marriage. Rachel talks to Piya about why there was no question in her mind it was the right thing to do.

Her son was accused of rape and she stood by him

"Donna"'s son was accused of campus sexual assault by a fellow student, but she says she knew from the start that it wasn't true. Her son was eventually cleared by his school and a grand jury. Despite that, "Donna" tells Piya that a sexual assault allegation is something you can't shake.

Her father molested a child, but that doesn't 'undo the love' she feels for her dad

Michael Skoor was a pastor and a wonderful father to his daughter Rebekah. Then one day, Rebekah got a phone call from her mother, informing her that her dad had confessed to molesting a child. Rebekah talks about the waves of emotion she went through and how she came to believe his actions don't undo his love for her.

'I had to tell myself I'm not like him': When your friend becomes a mass shooter

When Andrew Page found out his good friend Kimveer Gill was the Dawson College mass shooter, it was hard to take. He tells Piya how it made him question who he is as a person.