Toruno: "I just want to be left alone.” Photo: facebook

I don’t know much about the Arlington music scene, but I understand that its participants are passionate about their close-knit village. I don’t know Roxy Acuña, but I gather that she is an active member of that community, such that on September 23, she took it upon herself to out Victor Toruno, former frontman of dance-rock band Svenny Baby and a vocal proponent of Arlington’s bands and clubs, for his alleged pattern of abusive interactions with women. 

Acuña posted this to her Facebook page: “Because the Arlington music scene is so important, and we want to preserve it, we are writing this letter. We’ve become aware of at least three separate incidents where Victor Toruno has groomed, harassed, and assaulted women involved in the scene, myself included. We have also become aware of how he has chosen to spin the story to a handful of people, minimizing his harmful actions. Because of this, we are issuing a warning to women and refusing to work with him on any project from here forward. We feel that it’s important to point out that these are completely separate incidents and that by continuing to work with him, you are putting other women at risk and condoning his inappropriate and damaging behavior. We have kept quiet for fear of not being believed and being shunned from the scene because Victor is involved in so much of what is organized. He has manipulated us into believing that he can be trusted and that his intentions are good. Do not fall for it. If any other women feel they want to come forward or have been victimized and need to talk about it, you can reach out to Amy Hankins or myself. Let’s all work together to keep the scene alive and safe for everyone involved. Thank you.”

As one may imagine, Acuña’s post saw a lot of interaction, garnering a robust commentary thread, with a commensurate volume of outraged reactions and plenty of shares, as well as the usual instances of post deletion and other damage-control tactics. Toruno replied to some of comments: “I admit to having done wrong to others and have apologized for my mistakes. I messed up, and it’s something I need to work on. To anyone I have wrong [sic], I apologize to you. I will be going to therapy soon because I am flawed, and this is my demon to face. I’m sorry.” 

Fort Worth Weekly 300 x 250 Digital-01

Toruno answered my request for comment via text: “I would really appreciate it if this wasn’t a story that was [published] as I’m trying to step away from all of this get some help/therapy and just work on being a better person. I made some mistakes in my interactions but never to assault, harassment, or grooming. I am asking you to please not go with this story. I just want to be left alone.”

I contacted Acuña through Facebook, but as of this writing, she did not reply. I also messaged Svenny Baby and received an automated response about how they are no longer a band, which echoed their statement in response to Acuña’s post. “This afternoon,” the band wrote, “we were made aware of accusations against our frontman. The rest of the band is sickened, angered, and disturbed by this news of harassment and sexual assault. The local arts scene should be a safe and welcoming environment for all, and Svenny is not contributing to that vision. All future shows with Svenny Baby are cancelled.” 


    • From our November 27 edition:

      We Heart Free Speech

      “Why are you not allowing comments? Shady not to let comments be published. Free speech!”

      A reader left this comment on our online story about Victor Toruno, the teacher and former frontman of dance-rock band Svenny Baby who has been accused of abusive relations with women. We published a story weeks ago (“Accusations of Sexual Assault Hit Former Svenny Baby Frontman,” Oct 9) and received a few comments at the time but not many. Last week, however, one of Toruno’s former students reposted our story on a Facebook page, and we received more than 50 comments in a short period of time. Some comments supported Toruno, characterizing him as an enthusiastic and caring teacher. Others called him names and related unsubstantiated claims. A woman contacted us to say her minor daughter and some of her school chums were leaving controversial comments under their real names, and she worried about the legal ramifications and possible fallout. At first, we began filtering through the comments, removing the ones left under full names and/or those making potentially libelous claims against Toruno. We are legally responsible if libel occurs on our website, even when it’s readers making unsubstantiated claims in the comments section.

      However, removing the negative comments only and leaving the positive or non-accusatory ones might not accurately reflect reality. Editor Anthony Mariani made the rare decision to suspend comments on the story, even if one of our readers considered the move “shady.”

      “The same rules that govern what we print as the Weekly also cover reader comments on our homepage and social media,” Mariani said. “Free speech does not guarantee anyone the right to libel another person with unsubstantiated claims, anyway.”