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Video maker had sordid past, strong advocates

Calling himself fully rehabilitated, decries firing by conservatory

Peter E. Benjamin, the registered sex offender hired by renowned conductor Benjamin Zander to tape performances by a New England Conservatory youth orchestra, was a beloved figure among Boston’s cultural elite more than two decades ago, when he was routinely hired to produce photographs and videos for institutions such as the Boston Ballet, the Opera Company of Boston, the American Repertory Theater, and the Boston Red Sox.

But in the early 1990s when Benjamin was in his 50s, the picture changed. He was sentenced to five years in state prison after pleading guilty to charges of rape and sexual abuse. Among the allegations: that he secretly videotaped himself having sex with three male teens, one of whom was abused by Benjamin during a two-year period beginning in 1990, when the boy was 13.

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