Two more women say they were raped by George Hopkins, bringing to 11 the number who have accused the former Allentown drum and bugle corps director of sexual misconduct.

Jessica Beyer, one of the new accusers, said Hopkins regularly made inappropriate comments at work, texted her seeking sex, and once raped her in his apartment.

Overwhelmed by the unwanted attention, Beyer said she more than once told a superior that Hopkins was making her uncomfortable, stopping short of telling him about the alleged rape but sharing some details about Hopkin's texting and office behavior.

"I was told that's just how he was," Beyer, 33, said. "'You know how George is.'"

Sean King was named interim CEO of Youth Education in the Arts following the resignation of George Hopkins.
Handout
Sean King was named interim CEO of Youth Education in the Arts following the resignation of George Hopkins.

The man Beyer said she confided in, Sean King, last week was named as Hopkins' interim replacement.

King took the helm of Youth Education in the Arts, the Allentown nonprofit that runs the famed Cadets drum and bugle corps, after Hopkins resigned last week. King declined to speak with a reporter. Through a spokesman, he denied that Beyer or any woman told him of being sexually harassed by Hopkins.

"I have never heard of him [George] sexually abusing anyone," King said. "I never received an allegation. Ever. Had someone brought that to me, I would have reported it."

Hopkins, 61, did not respond to calls and text messages seeking a response to the new accusations, which fall within the 12-year criminal statute of limitations for rape.

His downfall has rocked the drum and bugle corps world, where he was a fixture for four decades, and led to calls for widespread change to better protect participants and employees from sexual harassment and assault. The activity is like marching band but with more theatrics. Members ranging in age from 16 to 22 spend the summer traveling the country performing and competing against other corps.

On Wednesday, the board of Youth Education in the Arts resigned en masse amid concerns that it did not do enough to investigate the claims against Hopkins. A new board was named in its place. On the same day, Drum Corps International, the activity's sanctioning organization, placed the Cadets on probation and outlined a series of steps, including submitting a plan of action to prevent and report misconduct, that the new board must take in order to participate in this summer's season.

The women who have now publicly accused Hopkins of sexual misconduct all either marched with the Cadets or were employees of the organization. Their stories span four decades.

Beyer, of Drexel Hill, marched with the Cadets in 2006 and was hired by Hopkins the following year. Then 22, she had majored in music education and saw the position, which required she relocate from South Carolina, as a path to a career in the arts.

Within two months, she said, Hopkins set his sights on her. She recalls a night when, she, Hopkins, and two others went to dinner after work. Beyer said that when Hopkins got up to leave, he texted her to meet him in the parking lot.

Outside, Hopkins was standing at her car. She said he grabbed her and kissed her, then, just as abruptly, got in his car and left. She stood there, stunned.

"Looking back, I go 'Well, maybe I shouldn't have done what he said,'" said Beyer, then known by her maiden name, Jessica Wilson. "But you're like, 'This is the CEO. I don't want to lose my job.' "

Beyer wrote about the incident at the time in a journal, which she shared with a reporter.

Jessica Beyer worked for the Cadets from 2007 to 2009.
Jessica Griffin / Staff Photographer
Jessica Beyer worked for the Cadets from 2007 to 2009.

After that night, she said, Hopkins started making comments at the office about her looks, brushing against her when he walked past and texting her late at night.

One day in spring 2008, Hopkins asked her to come to his apartment, saying he needed her help with some work and was too busy to go to the office, she said.

Hopkins was drinking red wine when she arrived, Beyer said. He told her to put down her work things, then began kissing and undressing her.

Beyer told Hopkins she didn't want to have sex, but he persisted and led her to his bedroom where he forced her to perform oral sex on him and then performed oral sex on her. He said little to Beyer when he finished.

"I just got my clothes and got dressed and went home," Beyer said. "And I got in the shower until I ran out of hot water. I brushed and flossed my teeth about 20 times. And then I just got in bed and cried."

In the months that followed, she said, she was a shell of herself  She wore sweatpants to work most days, self conscious of her body. She turned down social engagements. She snapped at colleagues, succumbing to what she said had become a toxic work environment.

Beyer said she was fired in 2009.

Then and for years following, she said, she buried the trauma. She said she spoke to a therapist in 2012 about what had happened. The therapist confirmed that Beyer in 2012 confided in her about being raped by a boss years before. Beyer's mother also confirmed her daughter told her several years ago that she was raped by Hopkins.

Beyer said she never considered telling King or anyone else at work about the assault because she didn't think she would be believed but also because she didn't want to hurt the organization. Reporting the incident to the police, Beyer said, didn't cross her mind.

"It took me a long time to say it wasn't my fault. Because I really felt like it was my fault," she said. "Maybe I wore the wrong thing. I shouldn't have gone over there. I should have seen he was drinking and left. I shouldn't have ever let him kiss me. I should have pitched a bigger fit."

‘I just stared at the ceiling’

The second woman, who briefly worked for Youth Education in the Arts in 2006, agreed to share her story only if not named, out of a concern for her privacy.

Like Beyer, she said Hopkins first made a sexual advance on her by kissing her in a parking lot after the two had drinks with coworkers. The woman was 22 at the time and married. She said she covered her face with her hands, told Hopkins to stop, then got in her car and left.

(A man who worked at the office at the time confirmed that the woman told him Hopkins once kissed her without her consent.)

As she drove home that night, she contemplated quitting, thinking it would be uncomfortable to work with Hopkins.

She didn't have to. She was let go within days. Though her position was a seasonal one, she said she saw the action as retaliation.

She found work with another drum corps. In 2010, then 26, she asked Hopkins to meet for dinner to discuss a change in drum corps rules he had proposed that she feared would negatively impact her team.

Given her previous experience with Hopkins, the woman went to the bar that night with her guard up. Below is how she described the evening:

She ordered a light beer though she loves craft brews, knowing she would sip it slowly and be fine to make the hour-long drive home. Hopkins wanted her drink a shot, goading others at the bar to join in pressuring her.

She agreed and downed a single birthday-cake-flavored shot.

When she went to stand, the room spun around her. She said Hopkins told her she couldn't drive, took her keys and offered to take her to his home. There, she asked for a glass of water. He brought her wine.

She got up to go to the kitchen but Hopkins grabbed the collar of her shirt, ripping it as he pulled her onto the couch. He kissed her, then hoisted her over his shoulder and carried her to his bedroom and raped her, she said.

"I remember he pinned my arms over my head with one hand and was touching me," she said. "I know at one point he got undressed because he let me go and I went to curl up. And I know that he was on top of me, and I just stared at the ceiling."

When she awoke the next morning, Hopkins was gone. He had left a Cadets T-shirt on the nightstand. She tied her own tattered shirt together and put it on instead. On the drive home she stopped and bought a morning-after contraception pill.

Years later, the woman said she has no doubt Hopkins drugged her. She had two drinks and two glasses of water at the bar, yet she had never felt so incapacitated.

She said she first told someone, a boyfriend, about the incident in 2012. That man, now her husband, confirmed that the woman, after they began dating, told her Hopkins had driven her home from a bar and had nonconsensual sexual contact with her.

The woman said she considered reporting the assault to police but didn't, in part because she worried about hurting the Cadets.

"I felt like I would be taking down an organization that did so many wonderful things," she said, "that the good things that George was responsible for outweighed my experience."