Medical

Director at New York's Metropolitan Opera accused of molesting teen

Director at New York's Metropolitan Opera accused of molesting teen

The Metropolitan Opera has opened an investigation into allegations of sexual abuse against legendary former conductor James Levine, the group said Saturday.

Levine made his Met debut in 1971 and was named music director the following year.

The New York Post reported Saturday that the IL victim, now 48, filed a report with the Lake Forest police department last October explicitly detailing several instances of sexual abuse by Levine, beginning in 1985 when the boy was 15 at the Deer Path Inn in Lake Forest and continuing for years afterward.

The victim's claims were brought to the police department in 2016, nine years after the statute of limitations on potential child sex crimes had expired.

The newspapers said opera company officials were informed of the allegations in 2016 - but Levine continued to work.

The Times said the Met had been aware of the report since previous year. Sandow would tell the police that "The rumors of [Levine's] alleged abuse have been widespread for decades and in my experience they seemed to be widely believed inside the classical music field though I've never heard anyone cite anything specific".

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Levine, who once led the BSO, has been accused of molesting IL teenager decades ago.

Speaking of the incident, Gelb said: "At the time, Mr. Levine said that the charges were completely false, and we relied upon the further investigation of the police".

The Lake Forest department assigned a detective who spent at least seven months investigating the allegations, according to a redacted copy of her written reports on the case. "We need to determine if these chargers are true and, if they are, take appropriation action". The victim said he had aspirations of becoming a conductor and first met Levine when he was only four years old. "Now I can", the Post quoted him as telling police.

The newly disclosed report is not the first instance of allegations against Levine; a 1987 Times piece referenced rumors of the conductor's "private life", to which Levine said he did not have "the faintest idea where those rumors came from or what goal they served". I felt alone and afraid. I couldn't see this. Levine, it was said, had had a relationship with a boy whose parents had gone to the Met board, threatening to expose the situation.

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.


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