Jeff Church, a director of a Kansas City children’s theater was found dead Saturday at the age of 63. The news of his death came just days after news of sexual assault allegations against him began spreading across social media.

Church was found dead by the police at his home on West 63rd Street in Kansas City just hours after The Coterie Theater said it had accepted his resignation. His cause of death was not immediately apparent. 

Who was Jeff Church?

Church had been working as a director at the theater for over 30 years, during which he directed and produced a number of plays and musicals. 

A number of alleged victims, mainly consisting of young male actors and theater staffers, have come forward accusing Church of sexual assault. One of them is a former actor named Dashawn Young, who said on December 20 that Church sexually assaulted him at a pool party in 2017. The actor was 22 years old at the time.

Young said in a presently deleted video that he and Church had been on a couple of dates. However, their relationship had ended at the time. It was reported that Church tried to force him into having sex when he went into the accused’s bedroom to change out of his swimsuit after the party.

Many of the employees, since then, have come forward to call Church’s alleged abuse “Kansas City theater’s worst kept secret.” They said Church “uses the promise of career advancement, in combination with social, professional, and physical pressure, to enact predatory behavior on young male actors.”

A couple of days later, Mark Manning, a local radio personality, said that Church had assaulted him in 1991 when he was 27. Manning also added that he wanted to support Young and any other victims who might be out there.

On Friday, the Coterie announced that it was placing Church on “administrative leave” pending an investigation into the allegations. Church’s biography has since been removed from the theater’s website. There is no trace on him on the theater’s social media accounts.