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Opera Theatre of St. Louis administrator suspected of child sex trafficking

Damon Bristo, the theatre’s director of artistic administration, was arrested on suspicion of second-degree child sex trafficking

ST. LOUIS — An administrator with the Opera Theatre of St. Louis (OSTL) has resigned after he was arrested on suspicion of child trafficking.

Damon Bristo, the theatre’s former director of artistic administration, was arrested July 22 on suspicion of second-degree child sex trafficking, the St. Louis County Police Department confirmed Wednesday to 5 On Your Side.

Bristo was released without formal charges and an investigation is ongoing, the department said.

OSTL released a public statement Tuesday regarding Bristo’s arrest:

"Official statement on the arrest of Damon Bristo: We were shocked by the allegations of criminal activity, which have no link to his employment or role with us. Upon learning of the arrest, the employee was immediately placed on unpaid administrative leave and later resigned.

"We have a strict code of ethics and strong values that we expect our employees to uphold inside and outside of the workplace."

The theatre did not say when it learned of Bristo's arrest.

This is the second time in a little over a year that leadership at the theatre has faced sexual misconduct accusations. 

Stephen Lord, former Music Director Emeritus at OSTL, resigned in June of 2019 after multiple accusations of sexual harassment came to light. Minnesota music publication the Twin Cities Art Reader reported the allegations, which it said showed "pervasive sexual harassment behaviors by Lord over the past decade."