CHOIR MONSTER GOT MAX
Frank Jones, a 53 year old Harlem Boys Choir counseling director, was charged on 15 counts of misdemeanor sexual abuse. The Post had learned that a second choirboy complained about inappropriate advances by Jones but the accusation was deemed unsubstantiated by child-welfare officials and was never passed on to police. He was accused of repeatedly kissing, licking and massaging a 13 year old chorister in his counseling office and in his home on West 163rd Street. Jones has admitted on tape to crossing the line with the teen, who is now 18 and has transferred out of the choir's Madison Avenue academy. Jones maintained he was innocent of any crime.
A jury deliberated for less than a day before convicting Jones of 24 counts of sexual abuse and three counts of endangering the welfare of a minor.
Jones was convicted in December 2002 of the 24 counts of sexual abuse, he is serving a 2 year prison sentence.
On January 8, the teenage victim upped the ante to $30 million in his negligence suit against the fabled choir and the city. The victim had already filed a $5 million lawsuit last year. His amended suit alleges choir bosses Walter and Horace Turnbull, the choir and the choir and the city Department of Education failed to investigate abuse allegations against Jones.
A hot-line number was publicized by prosecutors for anyone to call with information on any other alleged molestations. The number is (212) 335-9373.
Jones says the two top officials, who have been accused of covering up his crime, should not be forced to resign. He is distraught over the attempt by the city Department of Education to oust the Turnbull's, insisting they made only an administrative mistake.
Powerful Harlem Congressman Charles Rangel yesterday urged the city to agree to allow scandal-scarred Walter Turnbull to remain head of the Harlem Boys Choir. A report by the special schools investigator recommended the city sever ties with the prestigious group unless the Turnbulls go. Although the choir is a private institution run by its own board of directors, its members attend a city-run school. Rangel told The Post that he contacted city officials and the choir's directors, who also want to keep Turnbull, and will try to mediate. The choir's board voted last week to retain Turnbull, after initially asking for his resignation, and proposed management changes to prevent further scandals.