New York’s Metropolitan Opera on Sunday 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.
The Met also said it has appointed Robert J. Cleary, a former U.S. attorney and the current head of the investigations practice at the Proskauer Rose law firm, to lead the investigation into the allegations that took place from the 1960s to 1980s.
The move to suspend Levine came a day after the 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. Then on Sunday, the New York Times reported similar accounts from two other men accusing Levine of sexual misconduct.
We are deeply disturbed by the news articles that are being published online today about James Levine. We are working on an investigation w outside resources to determine whether charges of sexual misconduct in the 1980s are true, so that we can take appropriate action.
One of Levine’s accusers, Ashok Pai, also spoke to The Associated Press in recent weeks but declined to tell his story on the record at the time. He declined to be interviewed again when contacted this weekend.
According to the Times, Pai said he was sexually abused by Levine starting in the summer of 1986, when he was 16. He reported the allegations to the police department in Lake Forest, Ill., in October 2016. Details of the police report were first reported on Saturday on the New York Post’s website. Met officials said they learned of the police report last year.
Pai said he reached out to police in Lake Forest because some of his encounters with Levine took place there in the mid-1980s. Levine served as music director at the Ravinia Festival, outside Chicago, from 1973 to 1993.
3 of 3: “While we await the results of the investigation, based on these new news reports, the Met has made the decision to act now,” said Peter Gelb, Met General Manager, whose actions are fully supported by the leadership of the Met Board and its Executive Committee.
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