Former Boston Ballet Dancer, Husband Accused Of Sexual Assault And Grooming

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SOMERVILLE, Mass. (WBZ NewsRadio) — Two dancers who were mentored by a former Boston Ballet dancer and her husband are now accusing the couple of a lengthy history of sexual abuse.

Sage Humphries, of Somerville, and Gina Menichino, of New Jersey, made the accusations against professional dancer Dusty Button and her husband Mitchell Taylor Button in a federal lawsuit in Nevada last week.

The lawsuit details a graphic campaign of alleged sexual and psychological abuse against the two dancers. Menichino took lessons from Mitchell Button when he worked at a dance center Tampa, Florida in 2006 when she was 13. She said the man groped her repeatedly, and made her send naked photos of herself to him. Menichino said the man became increasingly controlling throughout her time with him.

A similar accusation in the suit came from Sage Humphries, who met Dusty Button when they were both dancers at the Boston Ballet in 2016. She said in the lawsuit that the couple began to groom her soon after their meeting, in a pattern that she says grew to include her entire life.

The lawsuit said the Buttons — influential —in the dance circuit — kept Humphries in their control by repeatedly threatening to ruin her career if she stopped agreeing to their demands. Humphries accused Mitchell and Dusty Button of repeated sexual assaults, and that the abuse only stopped when her own family became concerned and forced her to leave Massachusetts. Notably, the suit only names Dusty Button as a "non-party co-conspirator;" the sole defendant in the case is Mitchell Taylor Button.

Humphries said that Mitchell Button kept threatening her, and the couple eventually followed the woman to California, which made Humphries get a restraining order against them in 2017.

In response, the Buttons' lawyer commented that the couple "categorically deny these baseless claims" in a statement to the Boston Globe.

The Boston Ballet said that the organization had fired Dusty Button in May 2017, and commended Humphries for "sharing her experience to protect others, and seeking accountability and justice."

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Written by Chaiel Schaffel

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