White Rock play cancelled after sex offence revelation, director stays

WHITE ROCK — The White Rock Players’ Club artistic director is still on the theatre group’s board, despite reports that he had handed in his resignation.

Ryan Mooney, 32, was starring in The Complete Works of William Shakespeare, Abridged, when the Now broke the story that the theatre group was looking for volunteers — including young people — despite some board members’ knowledge that its artistic director is on the list of registered sex offenders.

The production, which was set to kick off Aug. 6 and run until Aug. 21 at the Coast Capital Playhouse, has been cancelled following a meeting of the board members on Aug. 4.

Two other board members, Angie Koropatnisky and Matt Davenport, resigned from their positions in the past week. It is uncertain whether vice-president Kate Stadel will also resign from her position, but thus far Mooney has made no moves to leave the company.

“At this time, we have not asked for his resignation,” said the WRPC’s past  president, Dave Baron. “It’s his own personal decision. We have no position on (it). We are a volunteer club, he is a volunteer.”

When asked why another media outlet had reported that Mooney resigned, Baron said, “I think it was misconstrued.”

Recently, the WRPC told the Now that the group was looking for volunteers. Asked if the club is looking for younger volunteers, Stadel replied "it would definitely be a benefit for younger people. I think if they’re interested in trying theatre, this would be a good place to start if you’re still in high school or you’re not quite sure what you’re going to do after high school.”

In 2009, Mooney pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting a 15-year-old girl while working on a school play.

In 2006, Mooney was 24 and working as a choreographer when he befriended the girl, led her into a room and locked the door behind him. He then pushed her against a wall, put his hands on her chest and asked her to perform oral sex on him. She refused his advances and left the room.

He received a one-year conditional sentence and three years probation. He was also ordered to provide a DNA sample and his name was added to the sex offender registry for 20 years.

Karen Mirsky, Mooney’s lawyer for the case, told the judge that he changed his career and wouldnt’t be working with young people again.

According to Baron, Mooney has not directly worked with any minors during his involvement with the WRPC.

“He has voluntarily and with the consensus of the board avoided any contact with minors,” Baron said.

Mooney has directed many theatrical productions with the WRPC but excludes himself from the annual Christmas Pantomime, which customarily has minors in it.

The theatre group will not be running another production until October’s Noises Off!, having cancelled the upcoming Complete Works of William Shakespeare, Abridged.

“They decided that there was too many distractions and they kind of lost the will to do it,” said Baron of the decision.

Although some board members have resigned, Baron said that he doesn’t think that Mooney is at any fault.

“In our experience, Ryan has not done anything wrong,” he said. “He served his sentence, he’s abided by the requirements of the court and we feel that, in that respect, he deserves a chance to prove that he’s rehabilitated.”

Though the WRPC, which operates the Coast Capital Playhouse, will not be producing another play until October, the building will still host concerts and other productions by rental groups.

The White Rock Players’ Club has an annual general meeting scheduled for Aug. 17.

With files from Tom Zytaruk, Neal Hall, Vancouver Sun and the Province.