James Levine, the Metropolitan’s legendary music director from 1976 until last year, and now the opera’s director emeritus, has been accused of molesting a teenage boy back in the 1980s. The alleged abuse continued for several years, according to a police report filed in October of last year.
In a statement to The New York Times, Met officials stated that they have been aware of the allegations against the Grammy award-winning artist since the report was filed, but had taken no action.
“At the time Jim said that the charges were completely false, and we didn’t hear anything further from the police,” the Met’s general manager, Peter Gelb, told the Times.
Now, Gelb said, “we need to determine if these charges are true and, if they are, take appropriate action. We will now be conducting our own investigation with outside resources.”
The report was filed through the Lake Forest Police Department in Illinois, but was done nine years after the statute of limitations on a possible child sex crime in Illinois had expired, according to the New York Post.
In the report, the alleged victim, who is now 48, described being molested by Levine beginning when he was 15 and Levine, now 74, was in his early 40s. This followed him first meeting Levine at a summer music event in Illinois with his parents.
“It nearly destroyed my family and almost led me to suicide,” he said of the alleged abuse in the police report. “I felt alone and afraid. He was trying to seduce me. I couldn’t see this. Now I can.”
The man said that as a teenager he saw Levine as a mentor, who gave him gifts like conductor batons and encouraged him to come to New York to audition as a conductor.
He said he followed Levine’s instructions, though he found himself confused by his behavior toward him. Initially, it was just uncomfortable hand-holding in Levine’s car, he said. But eventually, he said Levine would masturbate in front of him and, as he got older, he said the conductor inappropriately touched and fondled him. This abuse continued after he turned 18, he said.
“Levine was not a person you ever said no to,” the man told police. “He inflicted shame and guilt on me. Making [it] hard for me to see the wrong. Emotionally I have been hurt by this and confused and paralyzed.”
The man said he told his mother about the abuse in 1993, and in 2016 went to the police following the advice of a former Met board member. According to the police report, Greg Sandow, who writes about classical music and was questioned by police, told a detective that two other men had contacted him with similar allegations of abuse by Levine.
Sandow, in an email to HuffPost on Sunday, confirmed his communication with a Lake Forest police detective in December of 2016 about the allegations of abuse. “If these stories really are true, then they need to come out,” he said.
Levine did not immediately respond to a HuffPost request for comment through a representative.
Levine, who was also the music director of the Boston Symphony Orchestra for seven seasons, has been nominated for 37 Grammy Awards and has won 10. He was a Kennedy Center honoree in 2002 for his artistic contributions and was presented the award by then-President George W Bush.
The Boston Symphony has denied knowing about the allegations, saying:
— Boston Symphony (@BostonSymphony) December 3, 2017