St. John's brother, not she at the time, 1986, was expected to have the important career. But Brodsky, she says, had told her: wouldn't it be a shame if your brother got dismissed from Curtis? So a a kid, terrified for her brother, she keeps totally silent about her abuse, except for a few close friends. She gets herself a new teacher at Curtis and elaborately plans out her daily schedule so as not to cross paths with Brodsky who once asks her: why don't you love me anymore? At 17, she tries to kill herself. She then drops out of school and refuses to continue her education. My career, she thinks, is over. But her big brother who was to have the big career, knowing nothing about what had happened to his beloved little sister, continues to take lessons from the very teacher who had attacked her. For her part she keeps the story locked up inside her.
A few years pass. 1995. She gets a phone call from a counselor at Curtis asking about what had happened to her at Curtis (the counselor had heard rumors), and the whole story spills out of young Lara. A day later, another woman, the same woman at Curtis who in 1986 had asked her to tea as a kid and coached her then to be silent, calls her in NYC and asks her once again not to discuss this matter with anyone b/c her teacher was frail, likely to die soon and now was teaching only one student. She agrees.
More time passes. Now it's 2012, St. John's career blossoms (concert engagements, recordings, etc.), but she gets wind thru a friend that an administrator at Curtis has been questioning why she was so ungrateful (all students go to Curtis tuition free), why she never gives them any money. So she writes to this administrator privately, pulling no punches in detailing the abuse, but asks her not to share the message. So nothing happens.
Two months later, the same Dean who had ridiculed her as a 15-year-old, now retired from Curtis, publishes an article for a classical-music blog about the cover-up of sexual abuse in music schools. The piece is entitled When Curtis Was Known as the Coitus Institute.
The dam of silence finally breaks. In 2013, St. John, infuriated, contacts the Curtis Institute president and lays out the whole story. She tells him her only goal now is to stop the former Dean who had mocked her as a child from posing now as an expert on sexual abuse. Deeply disturbed, the Curtis head informs the Board which orders an immediate no-holds-barred outside investigation. St. John is not interviewed in that investigation (it wouldn't have been fair to the dead teacher is the reason given). Only two from Curtis are interviewed: one is the derisive Dean in question, the other a world-renowned musician in his own right who as fate would have it, is the husband of the woman at Curtis, now dead, who once at tea and again over the phone had asked St John to remain silent about her abuse. So nothing much comes of the investigation. But Curtis administrators do ask the former Dean to please stop writing about sexual abuse and cite to him the sensitive matter of Lara St. John which to this point has remained out of the public eye. The Dean peremptorily refuses: "My conscience is clear", he tells Curtis.
In late June of this year, St. John takes a train back to her hometown Philly and revisits some of the places that brought her such pain 34 years ago. The ceiling of the room where she took tea with the famous musician's wife who asked her not to talk about the attack looked a lot higher back then, she notes. It must be because I was so small, she states.
The Philadelphia Inquirer investigative report follows shortly thereafter.