Conductor James Levine facing sexual abuse allegations

Violet Powell
December 4, 2017

The Metropolitan Opera in New York City is launching an investigation into conductor James Levine, based on a 2016 police report filed in IL by a man who alleges he was molested as a teenager by Levine 30 years ago, the Met Opera announced Saturday.

He made his debut with the Met in 1971 and served as its music director from 1976 until previous year, when he stepped down due to health problems.

Levine's accuser told police he first met the conductor attending the festival as a young boy and continued to have harmless encounters with him for several years, according to the New York Post.

"This first came to the Met's attention when the IL police investigation was opened in October 2016", the Met said in a statement.

Levine has not publicly commented this weekend on the media reports or the Met's investigation into his alleged misconduct. Levine, 74, stepped down as music director of the Met in April 2016. "We are working on an investigation with outside resources to determine whether charges of sexual misconduct in the 1980s are true, so that we can take appropriate action". The abuse intensified over time as Levine allegedly touched himself and the minor sexually "hundreds of times".

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"It nearly destroyed my family and almost led me to suicide", he said of the alleged abuse in the police report. We need to determine if these charges are true and, if they are, take appropriate action. He was trying to seduce me. The allegations come with the United States reeling from a firestorm of sexual misconduct claims that have ended a litany of powerful careers and rocked USA industries from Hollywood to news to politics. I couldn't see this. In his complaint, the victim also detailed how Levine masturbated in front of him and kissed his penis.

The BSO said Levine has not conducted the orchestra since January 2011, and he "is not scheduled to conduct the orchestra at any time in the future".

The statute of limitations for a potential sex crime in IL expired nine years before the alleged victim came forward against Levine in 2016, reports the Post.

The accusations follow a series of sexual abuse and harassment claims made against high-profile figures in the entertainment industry.

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