Met conductor accused of molesting teen

Dec 04, 2017, 01:03
Met conductor accused of molesting teen

NEW YORK (AP) - New York's Metropolitan Opera said Saturday it will open an investigation into allegations that its longtime conductor, James Levine, sexually abused a man three decades ago beginning when the man was a teenager. The man told police that Levine touched his penis while laying naked with him in bed.

He said he was reaching out to police in Lake Forest because some of his encounters with Levine took place there in the mid-1980s. The man originally met Levine at the Ravinia Festival in Highland Park, Ill. 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 U.S. industries from Hollywood to news to politics.

According to the report, the alleged victim filed a molestation complaint at the Lake Forest police department.

"At the time, [Levine] said that the charges were completely false, and we didn't hear anything further from the police", says Gelb. "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". "We'll now be conducting our own investigation with outside resources".

Levine did not immediately respond to a HuffPost request for comment through a representative.

The Post alleges that there were "hundreds of incidents" by Levine against the teenage victim.

He also said that his relationship with Levine extended well into adulthood and that the composer gave him money over the years when he was having financial problems, amounting to more than $50,000. Last year, he told police in IL that he'd had sexual contact with Levine when he was under the age of 18.

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". In this case, the man asked that his name not be published and declined to be interviewed on the record.

With long-silent victims of abuse now speaking out about sexual harassment and predatory behavior by powerful, high-profile men in Hollywood, Congress and the media, it was inevitable that stories would begin to appear about sexual misbehavior in the backstage classical music milieu where conductors wield great power with few consequences for unprofessional behavior.

The alleged victim, who remains anonymous, reportedly shared his allegations with a former board member of the Metropolitan Opera, where Levine, now 74, served as music director for roughly four decades and currently holds the title of director emeritus.

Levine is now scheduled to conduct Giuseppe Verdi's Tosca on New Year's Eve.