Published: Sun, December 03, 2017
Worldwide | By Isabel Fisher

NY Met Opera's Longtime Conductor Accused of Abusing Teen

NY Met Opera's Longtime Conductor Accused of Abusing Teen

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

The conductor and pianist has held the position of Music Director of the Munich Philharmonic and Boston Symphony Orchestras, and led the Metropolitan Opera from 1976 until April past year.

According to a Lake Forest police report obtained by the NYT and The New York Post, "The alleged abuse began while Levine was guest conductor at the Ravinia Music Festival in Highland Park, beginning in 1985. The alleged victim informed a former Met Opera board member of the alleged abuse in 2016 and she alerted the Met's general manager, yet Levine continued to wield his baton".

James Levine, who led the Boston Symphony Orchestra from 2004 to 2011, allegedly molested an IL teenager decades ago, beginning when the boy was just 15 years old, the New York Post reported Saturday.

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 man has said. "We'll now be conducting our own investigation with outside resources".

"He started holding my hand in a prolonged and incredibly sensual way", the Post quoted him as saying.

The now 48-year-old man reportedly told police in Lake Forest that Levine would masturbate naked in front of him and kiss his penis.

The unnamed victim said in his statement to police "It nearly destroyed my family and almost led me to suicide". He was trying to seduce me.

The Post alleges that there were "hundreds of incidents" by Levine against the teenage victim. I couldn't see this.

The accuser, whose name is being withheld by The Associated Press, contacted reporters from several news organizations and posted a handful of items on social media accusing Levine of abusing him when he was young.

The accuser, who at the time was hoping for a career in music, told police the conductor had invited him to audition for him in NY and then encouraged him to engage in sexual "experimentation".

Since an avalanche of sexual assault allegations broke against Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein in early October, a torrent of misconduct claims have shattered the careers of a growing list of powerful men, including Oscar victor Kevin Spacey, comedian C.K. Louis and morning television news anchors Matt Lauer and Charlie Rose.

Levine has been nominated for 37 Grammy awards and has bagged 10 of them.

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