Statement on VTDigger’s Story on Vermont Performing Arts League

Champlain Housing Trust supports and believes the women who have stepped forward to bravely put voice to the harm and abuse that they suffered as described in VT Digger’s story last week. Ben Bergstein’s actions reported in that story are reprehensible.

This week we spoke with survivors of Ben Bergstein’s abuse, and learned how this pattern of behavior has been in our community over many years and it sickens us. The harm caused to the survivors is tangible, and we know that the system for uncovering such behaviors is difficult and often not supportive of victims or survivors.

CHT first learned of this behavior in February, 2021 and immediately terminated our contract with the Vermont Performing Arts League/North End Studios to manage the Event Hall at the Old North End Community Center. We have also barred both Ben Bergstein’s and April Werner’s access to the property. As of February 11, North End Studios has no ongoing relationship with CHT or the Event Hall.

In solidarity with and in support of these survivors, CHT encourages any person or business that has business with the Vermont Performing Arts League to cancel their events. CHT will work with those who do to try to accommodate their gatherings or events at the Old North End Community Center. We hope to have the Event Hall up and operational in the near future.

For those who are in need of help with sexual assault, violence, harassment, or other unlawful behavior, support is available. Please utilize local organizations such as HOPE Works (802-863-1236, or Steps to End Domestic Violence (802-658-1996,