Conductor James Levine facing sexual abuse allegations

Conductor James Levine facing sexual abuse allegations

The Metropolitan Opera announced Saturday it would investigate claims that its music director sexually abused a teenage boy decades ago, as the USA avalanche of misconduct allegations spread to classical music.

The abuse is purported to have begun when the victim, who had known Levine since he was a child, began attending the Ravinia Music Festival, where Levine served as music director for over 21 years, without the supervision of his parents.

Lake Forest Police Detective Wendy Dumont learned, after contacting classical music blogger Greg Sandow, that three men had come forward to accuse Levine of sexual abuse in prior years, one of whom being the victim in question.

The alleged victim told police in Lake Forest, Illinois that Levine would masturbate in front of him and kiss his penis, the Post said.

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

Over the years, Levine would send him gifts such as conductors' batons and in 1985, drove him home and stopped the auto in his family's driveway, they reported.

The allegations can not be criminally prosecuted as the state's statute of limitations has expired, but the Post said police investigated and submitted findings to the local state attorney.


"At the time, [Levine] said that the charges were completely false, and we didn't hear anything further from the police", says Gelb.

"I began seeing a 41-year-old man when I was 15, without really understanding I was really "seeing" him".

The alleged abuse "nearly destroyed my family and almost led me to suicide". The victim said he had aspirations of becoming a conductor and first met Levine when he was only four years old. He was trying to seduce me.

Levine, who once led the BSO, has been accused of molesting IL teenager decades ago. "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 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". I couldn't see this. Shortly after the article appeared online, The New York Times reported that Met officials had been aware of the allegations since past year, but that Levine had denied them. At the time, he said, Levine said he wouldn't send him money anymore.

Levine has struggled with health problems including Parkinson's disease in recent years but is scheduled to conduct several productions this season.

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