Metropolitan Opera suspends James Levine following sex abuse claims dating back to the 1960s

  • New York's Metropolitan Opera is suspending conductor James Levine
  • Levine was accused of sexually abusing a 15-year-old boy for eight years
  • The lawsuit alleges that Levine and the boy met multiple times and that Levine anally penetrated him with a finger and fondled his penis without consent
  • On Sunday the New York Times reported similar accounts from two other men?
  • The Met has appointed Robert J Cleary to lead the investigation into Levine?

New York's Metropolitan Opera has announced it is suspending its relationship with longtime conductor James Levine pending an investigation into multiple allegations of sexual misconduct against him.

The opera cut Levine from its schedule on Sunday, a day after a lawsuit emerged that alleges the 74-year-old sexually harassed a 15-year-old boy for nearly 10 years.??

Also on Sunday the New York Times reported similar accounts from two other men accusing Levine of sexual misconduct.

'Mr. Levine will not be involved in any Met activities, including conducting scheduled performances at the Met this season,' the Met said in a statement.

The Met also said it has appointed Robert J. Cleary, a former US attorney and the current head of the investigations practice at the Proskauer Rose law firm, to lead the investigation.?

New York's Metropolitan Opera announced said it was suspending its relationship with longtime conductor James Levine pending an investigation into multiple allegations of sexual misconduct against him

New York's Metropolitan Opera announced said it was suspending its relationship with longtime conductor James Levine pending an investigation into multiple allegations of sexual misconduct against him

'Mr. Levine will not be involved in any Met activities, including conducting scheduled performances at the Met this season,' the Met said in a statement

'Mr. Levine will not be involved in any Met activities, including conducting scheduled performances at the Met this season,' the Met said in a statement

Levine was one of the recipients of the 2002 Kennedy Center Honors. He is pictured at the reception for the honorees, who included James Earl Jones and Elizabeth Taylor
Levine is pictured at a younger age with a towel over his shoulder

The opera cut Levine from its schedule on Sunday, a day after a lawsuit emerged that alleges the 74-year-old sexually harassed a 15-year-old boy for nearly 10 years. He is pictured at left in 2002; it is not known what year the photo at right was taken

In a statement the Met said the alleged sexual misconduct dates back to the 1960s and continued into the 1980s.?

On Saturday New York Post first reported that one of Levine's accusers claimed he had sexual contact with Levine as a teenager.

Met officials said they learned of the police report last year and announced they were launching an investigation.?

The Met also said it has appointed Robert J. Cleary (pictured), a former US attorney and the current head of the investigations practice at the Proskauer Rose law firm, to lead the investigation

The Met also said it has appointed Robert J. Cleary (pictured), a former US attorney and the current head of the investigations practice at the Proskauer Rose law firm, to lead the investigation

The lawsuit alleges that Levine abused the boy during his tenure as a conductor at the Ravinia Music Festival, a summer concert series held in Chicago's North Shore suburbs.

The alleged victim, now 48, says that the abuse began when he was 15 and when Levine was 41.

The unidentified man describes how he met Levine at the Ravinia festival when he was four years old after his parents took him backstage to meet the conductor.

He told police that in 1985 Levine showered him with gifts such as batons and, one evening when he was 15, drove him home.

The lawsuit goes on to state how the following year, Levine took the boy to the ritzy Deer Path Inn in Lake Forest.

There, the lawsuit alleges, Levine fondled the boy's penis.

The lawsuit states that 'hundreds of incidents' occurred between Levine and the boy at the Deer Path Inn.

In 1987, the lawsuit alleges, Levine penetrated the boy's anus with his finger. Levine allegedly kissed the victim's penis during another incident.

At the same time, the lawsuit states, Levine would give the boy gifts - with an alleged total value of $50,000 - and also wrote him a college recommendation later.

Levine is pictured leading the orchestra in Berlioz's 'Symphonie fantastique' at a 2015 performance. The alleged abuse occurred between 1985 and 1993 and involved anal penetration and fondling

Levine is pictured leading the orchestra in Berlioz's 'Symphonie fantastique' at a 2015 performance. The alleged abuse occurred between 1985 and 1993 and involved anal penetration and fondling

Levine has not yet commented on the allegations. The victim's police statement reads:?'Emotionally I have been hurt by this and confused and paralyzed'

Levine has not yet commented on the allegations. The victim's police statement reads:?'Emotionally I have been hurt by this and confused and paralyzed'

The abuse stopped in 1993, the lawsuit states. By then, the pair would occasionally dine together at New York City restaurants near Lincoln Center.???

'Based on these new reports, the Met has made the decision to act now, while we await the results of the investigation,' said Peter Gelb, Met General Manager.?

'This is a tragedy for anyone whose life has been affected.'

An email to Levine's manager seeking comment on the accusations was not immediately returned.

The accusations against Levine, among the most prominent classical music conductors in the world, are the latest in a stream of sexual misconduct charges involving high-profile men in entertainment and the media that have rocked the nation since accusations against film mogul Harvey Weinstein were reported in October.

Levine served as music director of the Met from 1976 to 2016, when he assumed the position of music director emeritus.?He started at the opera in 1971.?

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

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