- Associated Press - Friday, May 8, 2015

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - A drum major instructor for Ohio State University’s marching band who is accused of sexually assaulting a woman at his home was reprimanded last year for sending an “inappropriate” text message, according to records released Friday.

Stewart Kitchen sent the message, which included a derogatory reference to women’s breasts, to fellow band staff members at a pumpkin festival during an Oct. 16 band event, according to a copy of a letter of reprimand obtained by The Associated Press through a records request.

Kitchen meant to send the message to only one staff member, according to the letter. Kitchen immediately sent a follow-up text to apologize, according to a copy of the text messages obtained by the AP.

“That was a joke for Wes!” Kitchen wrote in the follow-up. “I didn’t realize that was everyone. So sorry that was an inappropriate …”.

The text represented “a serious lack in personal judgment on your part,” Russel Mikkelson, the band’s director and music professor, wrote in the Oct. 29 letter of reprimand.

“Your behavior demonstrates a lack of sensitivity to many of the same topics about which we have been educating our students since August 2014,” the letter said.

In July, the university fired marching band director Jonathan Waters after an internal investigation determined he ignored “a sexualized culture” inside the band. Waters has fought the firing, filing a $1 million defamation claim Friday in the Ohio Court of Claims. He also is pursuing a federal civil rights claim of gender discrimination.

“This has led to a deep concern among your colleagues on the band staff, myself included, questioning whether or not you possess the maturity to effectively and appropriately lead the young men and women of D-Row,” Mikkelson said, referring to the section of the band for which Kitchen was responsible.

Kitchen, 28, was arrested last month on rape and kidnapping charges. He did not enter a plea at his arraignment and is free on $50,000 bond.

Court documents allege Kitchen and a woman went out drinking on April 15, then walked to his Columbus home. The woman reported that Kitchen refused to return her to her home and sexually assaulted her in his bedroom as she tried to escape and told him to stop, an investigator said in an affidavit filed in court.

Kitchen led the band as head drum major in 2006-07 and is now a drum major instructor, teaching the leaders of the marching band.

He was placed on paid administrative leave on April 24. The university also said it launched an internal investigation and is cooperating with law enforcement officials.


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