The Metropolitan Opera in New York suspended its famous director James Levine on Sunday while investigating allegations of badual misconduct.
In a statement, the general manager of the opera, Peter Gelb, said that Levine would not be involved in performances or other activities during the investigation.
"While we await the results of the investigation, based on these new news reports, the Met has made the decision to act now," Gelb said, adding that the executive board and executive committee of the opera fully supported the suspension.
"This is a tragedy for anyone whose life has been affected," he said.
Gelb told NBC News on Sunday that the opera company first heard about the allegations when the Illinois police opened an investigation in October 2016.  "At that time [Levine] said that the charges were completely false, and we did not do it. "I do not hear anything else from the police," Gelb said in a written statement. "We need to determine whether these charges are true and, if they are, take appropriate action. Now we will conduct our own investigation with external resources. "
The announcement of the opera followed a report in the New York Post that said Levine had been accused in a police report of molesting a young man when the man was 15 years and that the badual abuse continued for years.
The man, identified on Sunday by The Times as Ashok Pai, detailed the accusations before the Police Department of Lake Forest, Illinois in 2016, according to the Post, which reported for the first time. Lake Forest is the place where the child lived when the alleged abuses began and near the Ravinia Music Festival site, north of Chicago, where Levine, now 74, was director during the summers from 1971 to 1993 , according to the festival website.
The New York Post and The New York Times obtained a copy of the police report.
Pai told the police that he met the driver who was attending the festival. Val as a child and continued to have harmless encounters with him for several years, according to the Post. Then, in 1985, Levine became a physicist with the child in a car after leaving it at home, the New York Post reported.
"I started seeing a 41-year-old man when I was 15, not really understanding what I was really seeing," said Pai, now 48, in a written statement to the police. . "He almost destroyed my family and almost took me to suicide, I felt lonely and scared, I was trying to seduce myself, I could not see this.
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A relative of Pai told The Times that the alleged victim first complained about the badual abuse in Private in 1993.
Levine's manager at Columbia Artists Management Inc. did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
On Sunday, The Times identified two other men who said they claimed to have badual encounters with Levine began in the summer of 1968, when they were teenagers in a music school in Michigan Levine, then 25, was a professor at Meadow Brook School of Music and an badistant director in the Cleveland Orchestra.
One of the men, James Lestock, told The Times that During an argument in his bedroom, Levine asked him to take off his clothes.
"This would be natural and honest and would expand my view of the world," Lestock recalls that Levine said, according to The Times. "My initial response included the word & # 39; no & # 39 ; He was not interested in that, but he ignored that, and he pursued the point, and convinced me to let him bad. "
A few years later, according to The Times, Lestock joined the Cleveland Orchestra, where, he said, Levine He asked the members to dress their eyes and bad each other.Once, Lestock told The Times, Levine told him that he should "expand" his "range of emotions" by allowing Levine to pinch him roughly on the legs. 19659002] "Once I started to fall apart and cry, he kept trying to hurt me," Lestock said, adding that he felt trapped in the orchestra.
"If I had left the group at the point, I would not have had a career , no income, no friends, and I would have been totally alone in the world, "he said.
The Times discovered that Levine had been accused of unspecified allegations in 1979. The former executive director of the opera, Anthony Bliss, sent a letter to a board member say That after long conversations with Levine and his manager, he believed that "no truth" to the accusations.
"Defamatory rumors have been circulating for some months and have often been accompanied by other charges that, in fact, we know are not true," the letter said.
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Levine, who became the Met's musical director in 1976, continued to work there as recently as Saturday. the night, when he completed his career directing "Requiem" by Giuseppe Verdi. Levine was scheduled to perform "Tosca" by Giacomo Puccini, on New Year's Eve.
The director, known for his wild hair and revered for his musical talent, has won 10 Grammy awards and has been nominated 37 times. He was honored by the Kennedy Center in 2002, along with Paul Simon, Chita Rivera, Elizabeth Taylor and James Earl Jones. He was also the driver in Disney's "Fantasia 2000".